As technology continues to advance, more and more people have been surfing on the internet. While many have reasons to be on the internet as they search for information, look for entertainment, execute business transactions, communicate with colleagues, or buy products, many cyber-criminals are also lurking online to look for targets, plan an attack and spread viruses and malware.
Many big companies have fallen to this and experienced an attack that made them lose billions of dollars. These companies have dedicated team to keep these criminals at bay and well design cyber-security plans however they were still managed to get infiltrated.
However, for someone who is just starting up or managing a small business, you should never think that you are an exemption to these kinds of threats. According to a study conducted by Verizon, 43% of breaches involved small businesses.
So, how can you be sure that you will be ready when something like this happened? Here are some ways on how to protect your computer from viruses and malware.
Always check and update your operating system
You may feel that the constant update of your operating system is quite an inconvenience and the need to restart your computer is not necessary, well, it is necessary and despite its inconvenience, it is something that you should never brush off.
Although your operating system comes with its own defense line against antiviruses, it still needs regular updates to address its vulnerability over time.
If you are one of those people who keeps on ignoring or delaying a system update, then maybe now is the time that you stop doing it and act upon it. Failure to update your OS will make you an easy target from malware and random viruses.
Get a reliable security software
One of the best ways to prevent an attack from happening is getting yourself a reliable security software such as antivirus or anti-malware.
You may stumble upon free antivirus download online but some of it does not totally do its jobs and does not provide optimum protection. Sure, it may also protect you from some cyberattack activities but a lot of free antiviruses come with some kind of spyware that may put you to bigger risks.
There are many available products now that can give total protection from viruses like Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Norton, AVG and Avast. So while these products come with a price, you will be able to sleep peacefully at night knowing that they are doing their job.
Use strong passwords
A unique, strong and long password matter in terms of defending your computer against any virus and malware. It is highly recommended by cybersecurity experts to counter any attack however most are not following these suggestions since it is long and comprised of different characters, thus making it hard to memorize.
Try to avoid a password that contains your personal information like your birthday or even your name. Do not also use the same password for almost everything, which is a very common practice by some.
When creating a password, use at least eight characters with multiple sets – uppercase, lowercase, numerals and even symbols. Consider also using a password manager that will help you generate a strong and unique password for your accounts. It can also securely track and store passwords for you.
Don’t click links on emails
Some of the biggest security breaches that took place and made companies lose their billions are because of an employee clicking the link inside a phishing email. This action allowed cybercriminals to infiltrate their backend system and in turn exposed many of their consumer’s data including name, emails, birthdays and other sensitive information.
Cybercriminals have been also advanced these days by spoofing emails. They seemed harmless at first and looks like just any other regular email.
Train yourself and your employees to recognize this kind of faux emails. If you think you receive a suspicious email, accidentally opened it, do not just go ahead and click on the link associated with it. Verify first the sender’s address and scan the attachment if there is any. Since some cybercriminals can copy even the exact email address, it is better to place a phone call to the supposed to be sender to verify that email is genuine and was really sent by them.
Backup all your files
Even if you have equipped your computers and files with the strongest password and the best antivirus software there is, it is absolutely important to have a backup of all of your files. In any case that you experienced being attacked by a virus or a ransomware, it will be easier for you to retrieve important files and programs.
These days, there is a lot of cloud-based storage application that you can take advantage of and utilize to safely store your files. While a lot offers a free version, opting to get the paid subscription packages will give you more capacity and security features.
Be careful when browsing the internet
The place where you do all your browsing and all your online business concerns are actually not safe after all. Be careful of the websites you browse and the external links you download from the internet to your computer. Some may contain malware loaded scripts that you can get from unsecured websites and databases.
Check the URL of the website you are visiting. If it is in https: instead of http:, it means that the website is secured using the SSL certificate. There should also be a padlock appearing next to the URL. However, be cautious still in transacting in any website especially if you are providing sensitive information like your name, address and bank information.
Connect on secured networks
Connecting to public Wi-Fi can also pose a threat to your computer and files. Whether you are at the airport or at a nearby coffee shop, resist the urge to connect to any public Wi-Fi. Since this is commonly an unsecured network, cyber-criminals can position themselves between you and the point of connection. If this happens, you may send all sensitive information to a hacker and they have access to all your sensitive information.
If you really need to connect to a public network, you might want to use a VPN as it encrypts your exact location.
Keep with the latest updates on cybersecurity
This may be one of the easiest things to do but often neglected. Be aware of the latest trend when it comes to cyber safety. Knowing what is happening will keep you informed and help you prepare more.
Technology has become an essential part of our daily lives and already helped a lot of businesses in their daily operation. You may not seem to notice it but your business may now rely heavily on technology. As you go about this, there will always be people with malicious intent to attack and steal your information and hold your company’s data for ransom.
As a small business owner, knowing what could happen and be able to prepare in case an unwanted attack occur can always help you rise above these threats. You may not be able to eradicate this completely, but you can always minimize the effect.
John Ocampos is an Opera Singer by profession and a member of the Philippine Tenors. Ever since, Digital Marketing has always been his forte. He is the Founder of SEO-Guru, and the Managing Director of Tech Hacker. John is also the Strategic SEO and Influencer Marketing Manager of Softvire Australia – the leading software eCommerce company in Australia and Softvire New Zealand.