5 Steps to Test the Security of Your PC

The P in “PC” stands for personal, as your device contains a whole load of personal and sensitive information about you as its user. This simple enough reason is why lots of people can become quite obsessed with protecting their PC system.

Constantly testing if your system is secured enough from hacking and other kinds of cybercrime attacks is a wise, responsible move no matter what your job is or what you use your PC for. If you’re ready to test the security of your PC, here’s how:

1. Check your OS

Check your OS and figure out if it’s up to date. Your operating system is never a perfect operating system, as those with malicious intent are always trying to find their way into your PC through your OS. This is why OS developers are always hard at work at finding these bugs and flaws, and even perform ethical hacking on their own systems to make sure an OS helps keep your information safe and secure.

Your responsibility as a user then is to make sure that your OS is always updated to the latest patch. Many of these patches are optional, and OS manufacturers will still allow you to use your system without these security patches. However, it is always recommended that you install these upgrades and updates as soon as they come out, because not doing so can compromise your system’s security.

2. Check your settings

There’s a software application known as the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer, and it’s supposed to help a user check how their Microsoft OS and Office programs are doing in terms of security settings. For starters, it checks your account passwords and makes sure that they’re strong and difficult to guess, it checks if your system gets automatic OS updates, and it even checks if your user accounts are given more privileges than they’re supposed to have.

You can also choose to check your settings manually, or opt for other analyzer tools that may be more robust and inclusive. If you’re going to check out MBSA alternatives, you only need to make sure that the tool you’re using has a good reputation and doesn’t open you up to vulnerabilities.

3. Check your internet browser

Keeping websites safe and secure is a priority for many reputable companies nowadays. In fact, they even perform all kinds of website testing or outsource these services to third-party software testers. These tests ensure that not only is a company’s website safe and secure, but that it’s also optimized for compatibility, usability, and performance across many devices.

However, you can’t just leave it up to the websites you’re visiting to protect you and your data. You need to protect yourself from your end too.

Make sure that your internet browser is updated to the latest version, and any and all plugins that you’re using are updated and safe to use. If they’re not up to date, they may leave you vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks. If you rarely use a plugin, it’s best to just uninstall it rather than leave it running and outdated.

4. Check your firewall

For many, firewall security settings on devices run on Microsoft and MacOS are enough to ensure that you and your system are virtually hidden from hackers when you’re online. Wrong port settings, on the other hand, reveal you to hackers and give them an entry point into your system. Viruses and other malicious programs may have changed your port settings without you knowing. Testing your firewall and checking your port settings is a great idea. While you’re at it, you might also want to install an anti-virus software too.

5. Check your social media accounts

Your social media accounts are jam-packed with information, and you might want to double check which and how much of these data is available to the public. Oversharing information on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and many other social media platforms is so commonplace nowadays that it’s so easy to overlook information that you might have rather not shared.

Make use of your social media accounts’ privacy settings. Check your profiles from an outsider’s POV, and remember to keep private and sensitive information away from feeds and timelines.

Is It Possible to Virtually Protect Your Data from All Threats?

The internet is an amazing place where you learn new things, research different topics, manage a business, or even communicate with people. However, it does come with a level of risk because some people enjoy compromising your sensitive data and hacking your platforms. Luckily, you have several ways to protect yourself, your data, and your websites online. You just need to figure out which one you need to keep everything you manage online safely secured. Read on to learn about the ways you could safeguard your data from threats and if it’s possible to protect yourself from everything. 

Encrypting your data 

One of the ways that you can shield your data from threats is by encrypting it. You need to invest in strong encryption processes and you need to understand how it works. Think of it as a protective sheet that conceals all your information in several secure vaults. The files get encoded and it’s only accessible by specific online users that have permission to see the information. One of the strongest levels of encrypting your data is the AES 256-bit encryption. You could invest in the AES 128-bit, but it doesn’t have the same strength and concealing algorithms. You can rest assured that your online platform’s data is scrambled, encrypted into different pieces, and hidden from any outsider who tries to steal information. 

Proper Authorization

You need to have a proper authorization plan for your online platforms to keep your users safe. Websites need authorization protocols for transactions, financial activities, editing, sending, and a lot more. Thanks to the developments of technology, a great option would be a virtual Dataroom to allocate all the information, manage it accordingly, give specific people proper permissions, and to go through several transactions and record entries safely. This virtual system will have every user verify their identity before seeing any type of information or finalizing any type of transaction. This is extremely helpful because any outsider won’t be able to get the proper authorization and permission. Also, you will see the names of every user and you can rest assured that no outsider/hacker can see, manipulate, or steal anything.

Creating Strong Passwords

You should implement a system that demands every user and new visitor to create strong passwords. This can increase their level of protection and decrease their chances of getting hacked. One of the easiest ways to have stronger passwords that can’t be cracked too easily is by having a long password with a mix of symbols, numbers, capitalized letters, and even special characters. This can make your passwords extremely unlikely to crack. Also, have automatic reminders for users to change their current passwords regularly for safety reasons. You never know what could happen and you should be prepared by preemptively creating a new password minimizes any chances of an online threat.

Maintain a Good Reputation   

Most threats or attacks can be because you didn’t maintain a good reputation online. Depending on the case, you or one of your users might have done something terrible or said something offensive. Anything you do or say online can be stuck forever, fixing it will be costly and time-consuming. Some hackers compromise your accounts as a way to take revenge or to mess up your life intentionally because of what you’ve said or done. This is the same with your users if they managed to provoke the wrong people. It would be wise to invest in a tool that protects your online reputation. This is good for social media outlets that may have questionable content or history that might damage you in the future. This is another way to preemptively take the first step in protecting yourself before a cyberattack even happens.  

Constant Back-Up Procedures

You will need specific procedures and steps that can give you a constant back-up of your personal information and sensitive records. This is for you and your online users or clients. Some attacks could come in the form of taking control of an entire platform and then deleting all the content. This shouldn’t be a major problem if you backed everything up. You would keep all the delicate files, numbers, transactions, history, phone numbers, names, and their professions. All of this information can be stored in a remote and secure server that only you have access to. You should make the right decision on hiring the best web host. They would have the means to safely back-up your files. You won’t have to worry if you ever get targeted for a ransomware attack that holds your information, blocks you from seeing it, or prevents you from controlling your platform. If it’s saved somewhere else, then you won’t suffer a serious loss.

Antimalware and Antivirus Programs

Everyone will need proper antimalware and antivirus programs for constant protection. These programs are designed to pay attention to any sudden changes to the system’s framework, a penetration attempt from an outsider, or upgrading your system with stronger protecting protocols. You will get notifications and alerts if anything bad or unusual is happening, giving you the head start you need to fix the issue quickly. Also, these protective programs are always updating because the digital world isn’t flawless. You will always have a platform that has loopholes, weak spots, and openings that hackers find out about. These programs help you defend yourself and your platform online from any phishing attempts, Trojans, spyware, worms, or any other type of malicious software that can harm you and your platforms online.

Most people believe that the digital world is safe and they forget about the possible negative outcomes of having online platforms. Anyone can be a target for a cyberattack. It doesn’t matter if you’re a business owner, an up and coming entrepreneur, a housewife, or even a kid that just plays online video games. Everyone can be vulnerable to a cyberattack, but several developers have come up with ways to strengthen those possible vulnerabilities and conceal your data from unwanted eyes. Nothing is impossible yet because hackers are always finding ways to penetrate servers and platforms, but developers are always coming up with updated ways to prevent any possible hacking attempts. 

Three Ways to Make Your Office More Secure

Having a secure office workplace is imperative to protect and ensure the safety of your staff, which is one of your primary responsibilities. This is the reason why you need to exert an extra effort to make your office space secure from those with malicious intentions to impose harm and damage, not only to your staff but even to your property as well. 

Below are some of the simplest but most effective ways to make your office more secure.

Restrict Access to Premises And Equipment

One of the ways to make your office space more secure is by restricting access to your premises. You can do this by keeping everything locked and organized, from your office doors, drawers, and even the computers that you are using. In this way, only those who have the keys, access cards, or passwords will be able to enter the premises or utilize your office facilities and equipment. It is a good idea to keep reminding your staff to keep their passwords private or keep their badges in a safe place so that these won’t fall into the wrong hands.

Make sure that all the equipment that you use in the office are labeled properly with seals, logos, or stickers that make it easy for you to match with your inventory. In line with this, you need to keep a comprehensive list of all the things that your company owns such that you or your staff will be able to verify that everything is in the rightful place each time.

Install CCTV Systems

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems pose various benefits when it comes to security in your office. The indoor monitoring cameras that you install can be a way of catching intruders in your office space, particularly when you acquire systems that boast of numerous features such as high definition video streaming or infrared night vision. It is also a good idea to strategically place your CCTV cameras in the entrances of your office premises to have a good idea of the individuals that seem to survey the area.

Invest in an Alarm System

Apart from CCTV systems, you can also invest in alarm systems that typically work together to provide added security in your office premises. These alarm systems can act as a deterrent, inhibiting those with bad intentions to pursue whatever it is that they are planning. The great thing about alarms is that these are directly connected to the authorities such that they are immediately notified should any criminal activity occur in your workplace. In this case, potential trespassers or thieves will have second thoughts of targeting your office.

To wrap things up, restricting the access to your office premises as well as labeling your company equipment are only some of the simple measures that you can do to keep your office space secure. In addition to this, investing in a CCTV and alarm system will keep crime at bay. All these are geared towards providing your staff with a safe and secure environment to work with.

4 Steps To Greater Computer Security

As businesses and individuals become more dependent on computers and the Internet, cybercrime has become an increasingly big problem. Hackers and cyber criminals are more threatening than ever and they can seriously damage your computer system, disrupt your network and steal all your data. 

There are many steps to ensure computer security, and in this article, we will focus on four steps that will help you to enhance and protect your network and computer security.

1. Patching 

Cybercriminals are masters at exploiting vulnerable points, also known as bugs, from old software that was installed on a computer. This is one of the most common ways that computers are hacked, and it is also the reason major companies pay a lot of money for IT specialists to find any flaw in their system. These specialists identify gaps in security and patch them up before a cybercriminal can take advantage of them. 

Usually, a business’s IT provider will ensure updates and patches are done as soon as they are released to prevent any cyber attack. If you are an individual user or a home business owner without an IT provider, you can simply turn on Automatic Updates for your software in the settings option; this will make sure that all software is kept up to date. 

2. Data Transmission Protection via VPN

When your system’s network is connected to the Internet, your systems face the risk of being exposed to a potential attack. It is important to do your research and find the most secure VPN as this can help enhance your computer security as it creates an encrypted and safer connection. This means that it encrypts data at the sending end and decrypts it at the receiving end, thereby protecting data transmission to a far greater extent than a normal connection. 

VPNs also encrypt the originating and receiving network addresses, thus enhancing security for online activities. You can use one of the top 10 best VPN services to access websites that are restricted by location to increase your access to online content. VPNs also allow remote employees to connect to their company’s software applications, but first the user will need to be authorized to use the private network app so that they can login using passwords or security tokens.

3. User Access and Awareness

Every user must play an important role in any organization’s security. Any mishap from a user can expose the organization’s network to great risks. It is so important to ensure that all your users are educated and aware of potential cyber risks, the correct procedures to take, and who to contact when they suspect they are at risk of a cyber attack

At the same time, the system administrator must make sure that users are granted enough system privileges and data access rights. They should not have access to more than what they need because if they become victim to a cyber attack, the hackers can exploit their access rights to obtain more information and destroy the system. That’s why users should only be granted with what is often referred to as “least privilege”.

For users, it’s also important that they create a strong password with two-factor authentication, and never reveal it to anyone. Two-factor authentication makes it almost impossible for hackers to gain access to your account and system because even if they could crack your first password, they won’t be able to access the second device with your second log-in verification. In short, two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security to your account, and also to your system. 

4. Virus and Malware Prevention

Getting a computer virus is never fun nor easy to fix. Malware is the same. Malware is short for malicious software, which is any code or content that maliciously impacts your system and devices. Malware can be disguised in an email or a link that is sent to the employees, hence the chance of people opening such a link or email is very high and exposes your system to security risks. 

That’s why the must-have first step for every network computer and device is to install a trustworthy antivirus and anti-malware program, keep them up-to-date, and run regular scheduled scans. This will help protect your systems and detect any possible virus or malware that has infected a computer in the network. It also helps when companies develop and implement appropriate policies to raise user awareness and reduce the risk of getting a virus or malware. 

System security is key to ensure your data safety and your business’s smooth operations. By regularly patching, protecting data through VPN, enhancing user security and awareness, and running anti-virus/malware scan, you are taking great steps towards protecting your computer and network from any possible cybercrime.

10 Ways to Secure Your Information Across Your Devices Online

The digital revolution has brought great advances in public access to information. Before the internet, you needed a set of encyclopedias or a visit to the library to find things out. Now, almost any information you desire is at your fingertips, on the computer. But the same technology that permits information access online makes us vulnerable to invasion by others seeking valuable information or resources from us. So it is vital in this digital age to take strong steps to protect yourself and devices.

Here are 10 ways to secure your information across your devices online:

1. Pick Strong Passwords

This is the obvious one, but you’d be amazed how many people choose simple passwords that are easy for sophisticated hackers to hack. Algorithms can go through millions of simple possibilities in seconds. A good password should contain/include alphabetical, symbolic, and numeric characters. It should be of sufficient length, 10-12 characters, and not contain obvious names or words. Acronyms make good passwords because they are easy to remember, yet do not present discernible patterns for hackers. Also, obviously your passwords across different apps should be different, not the same.

2. Protect Your Passwords

They are the keys to your digital kingdom! Do not give your passwords to others. Password manager apps are one great answer for those who have many passwords. If you do use a password manager app, make sure their reputation is excellent and security strong. After all, someone who gains access to that information will pretty much gain access to all that you own, in one form or another. Change your passwords when notified of any security breach

3. Maintain Separate User and Admin Accounts

Maintaining separate user and admin accounts is a common, almost universal, practice in business settings these days. It is a good idea for your home devices as well. Protect your admin account with a password. Use this account only for admin purposes. If your computer is hacked, the hacker will not automatically have access to make administrative changes. It also makes sense to protect your user account with a password. If your computer is stolen, the thief will need to know the password to immediately access any information you keep on file.

4. Keep Software Current

This is done automatically, in large part, these days on many computers. If you don’t have your computer set up to automatically update at specified times, do so. Many updates are security fixes to combat vulnerabilities in programs. There is a continuous race between developers and hackers who wish to exploit these vulnerabilities. If you are not updating, hackers can easily win this race! Back up your files. It is also a good idea to back up all vital information on two flash drives. Store one and keep the other with you when you go places. In the unlikely event of some kind of disaster (fire, hurricane, theft, etc.) you will maintain your vital information.

5. Connect With Care

Connect only to secure sites. Do not use public Wi-Fi to conduct personal or business affairs. If you must connect to sites where security is questionable, use a strong Virtual Private Network (VPN) like Surfshark. Try it here.

6. Practice Multi-Factor Authentication

Two-factor, or multi-factor, authentication is the use of more than one form of identity verification to gain site access. Passwords are one method. Security questions are another often-used form of authentication. But many times the information commonly used is easily available to identity thieves as well. So, if you are going to use a security question, make sure the information is personal and truly private. Biometrics is another method growing in sophistication and popularity. Facial recognition or iris identification should someday be the norm in all computers. Fingerprints or voice identification are other good examples. Biometrics authentication is the future state of the art, although all methods still face challenges. Some devices have biometric capability now. Passwords will become a thing of the past, although they’re still vital currently! Setting alerts on your online accounts is another good practice.

7. Use Caution with Emails

One of the most common security breaches comes from replying to or opening links in fraudulent emails. This is commonly known as phishing. Never open a link in an email unless you are absolutely certain it is from a trusted source. Don’t even open it then. A common hacker practice is to gain entrance to one account and use that account to send phony messages to all contacts, with requests for money or information. Phishing emails have led to many notorious security breaches. Think of the 2016 elections, when a phishing email led to the massive DNC security breach.

8. Use a Good Security App

This is just good common sense. In this day and age, a good security app is a must. Many decent apps are free, but this is one area where it likely pays to pay. Consumer advocate sites rate the top security apps each year. If you don’t have one, hurry to check these ratings out, then purchase a good app. Visit at least 2 or 3 sites to get a consensus. Then check customer reviews as well.

9. Minimize Physical Access Possibilities

Physical access to any of your devices may be the easiest way for someone to gain vital personal information. Don’t leave your computer up and running in public. Do not leave important applications open anywhere while you are absent. Protect access with a strong password. Although best practice with passwords is to not keep physical copies, in the real world, where you might have 50 passwords, this is often not practical. Keep password information in a secure spot.

10. Utilize a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

The VPN has become vital to maintain strong internet security. VPNs encrypt information and route your connection through a remote server. Your actual identity and location are masked by that server. VPNs also permit connection to sites that are geographically restricted or forbidden. They protect information when using public Wi-Fi. VPNs can be used to stream video such as Hulu or Netflix. VPNs permit download access without a digital footprint. Business users can log on to their business networks while traveling. One of the highest rated VPNs is Surfshark. Surfshark has more than 500 servers in all parts of the globe to facilitate strength and speed of connection. They were recently named a top VPN newcomer. Surfshark now offers annual plans with decreased cost and 24/7 support. Presently, a no risk trial is available. This is an excellent opportunity to secure a strong VPN network at an unusually low price.