Truth be told, no computer is really safe from the risk of malicious malware. All devices are seen as a potentially lucrative source for many online criminals. If your device is flagged on a network, then there are plenty of online criminals who will attempt to gain access to it. The best way to stay protected, therefore, is to be wary of the threats that exist. By knowing what causes a threat to your computer, you can prepare to defend yourself against it.
We’ve all had that message on our smartphone that tells us we’re about to run out of our inclusive data bundle. This is why WiFi hotspots are so useful to us and can often help us to save money. They can, however, also be a major source of cybercrime. With so many people working in the ‘gig’ economy and working from home or in public spaces such as cafes, it’s no surprise that our laptops and smartphones have become easy targets. If you download anti-malware protection, such as max security antivirus, then you will notice that it flags open WiFi networks.
The best way to tell how secure your information is on an open network is whether or not you need a password. If you can access the network straight away, without so much as a login, then you’re not protected against snooping. In fact, it is entirely possible to be spied on by other people using that very same network. If this is something that worries you, one of the most recommended ways of protecting yourself is to use a VPN. VPNs work by scrambling your information, so snoopers and hackers can’t access your data, purely by gaining access through your WiFi network.
Phishing scams are still incredibly effective when it comes to trying to gain access to our personal information. Phishing scams work when hackers masquerade as a trustworthy source to gain access to our documents. They could pose as your bank, as a relative or as a popular subscription service. If you are worried about being the target of a phishing scandal, then the best way to protect yourself is to stay vigilant. Don’t be so ready to give your details away: treat every unsolicited online interaction as suspicious.
Unfortunately, online security is something that needs to be worked on. When you first buy a new laptop, tablet or phone, it isn’t immediately secured against online threats. The best way to patch up these weak spots, therefore, is to keep on top of your security settings. The best and most effective ways of doing this are:
- To update your software as soon as your operating system prompts you: don’t delay it.
- Go into your web browser’s security settings. In fact, you should also do this with any antivirus software that you download. Sometimes the default security settings aren’t always the most robust; you will need to tailor it by going in and ticking all the features you want to be added. You can use Malwarebytes which is an anti-malware software for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS that finds and removes malware.
- Be vigilant online. If your system flags a website as being suspicious of not secure, don’t enter any information onto that website. Sometimes your security software will give you prompts and it is down to you to act accordingly.
Downloads are still a huge culprit when it comes to accidentally installing malware onto your device. The biggest threats that come as a direct result of downloads are trojans, worms, spyware and good old fashioned computer viruses. Some of these can be removed with software; however, some can be harder to remove than others. Something like a worm, for example, self-replicates without the need to attach itself to any specific software. This makes it particularly difficult to remove — not to mention the fact that it’s also time-consuming. To avoid this hassle, be careful with what you choose to download. Only download files from reputable sources and never download an email file that has been retrieved from your spam mail folder.
Your computer could ultimately be at risk from cybercrime because it will always be a target. Cybercriminals will forever be looking for unique windows of opportunity, whether that’s via an internet connection or by exploiting a vulnerability. The best way to ensure you don’t fall victim to this, therefore, is to be vigilant and suspicious about who you trust online. Any websites listed as ‘not secure’ by your security software should either be treated with the utmost caution or be avoided, if at all possible.