5 tips to ensure your computer is secure

New tools in the fight against ransomware

As our lives and businesses become more digitised and reliant on computers of various shapes and sizes, from smartphones, to laptops and tablets it’s become essential to protect these devices. Here are five tips to ensure that your computer, whatever it may be is secure and safe.


1. Update

If your operating system or software, such as Windows or Mac OSX asks that you update it, then it is very important that you allow it to do so. The reason is that when developers of these important software’s find vulnerabilities they then fix these issues by releasing updates and patches. Often these vulnerabilities are ones that cyber criminals seek out to gain access to computers. It’s not unlike finding a hole in a boat and instead of choosing to fix the hole, instead the passengers ignore it. Eventually water may enter the boat and sink it.


2. Passwords

It’s largely general knowledge that passwords are important. Using strong, random and unique passwords is also obviously very important. However how can you determine what is a secure password? Unfortunately it is not a case of taking the advice of a website’s password strength indicator tool that states everything is ok. Creating a great password involves three main factors.

  • No words are used that can be found in a dictionary
  • It is at least 12 characters in length
  • Uppercase as well as lowercase letters, numbers and symbols are used


3. Backup

Unfortunately sometimes things don’t according plan and your computer or device might get dropped, liquid dropped on it or even stolen. In these cases if you have not backed up your data then in theory you will have lost access to all of it. That’s why it is essential that you back up your computer or device on a regular basis, whether that be with an external hard drive or a cloud based service.


4. Secure your accounts

Though secure passwords are very important as we previously mentioned, it’s also essential that other security measures are taken. Two-factor authentication, also known as 2FA or multi-factor authentication is an additional layer of security. This involves using a combination of security steps to gain access such as a password, a hardware token or a cell phone and, in some cases a fingerprint. Two-factor authentication will take two of these options to verify the identity of the user. Many websites such as Paypal or bank websites often have this as standard. If your online email account doesn’t have it yet or you haven’t set it up, then do so as soon as possible.


5. Anti-virus

Using an antivirus is a standard thing to have on any computer or device to ensure that you are protected from viruses and malware. However is you anti-virus up to date and the most current version? Unfortunately viruses and malware are updated and adapted so that they can get past ant-virus software. If your ant-virus is out of date then you may be leaving yourself open to some serious headaches later on.


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