Security Hints & Tips
Things to think about
These security hints and tips will help you keep safer on your network and online.
- Protect your computer against power surges and brief outages.
Most modern Laptops and PCs are pretty resilient against the odd surge in power but if you live in a more remote area this can be a problem. Anti surge multi blocks can offer some protection against power surges and provide outlets to plug in your peripherals. Power strips (Multi-blocks) alone will not protect you from power outages- this protection comes with an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). During a lightning storm or construction work that increases the odds of power surges, consider shutting your computer down and unplugging it from all power sources. Also consider unplugging your network cable!
- Back up all of your data.
A backup is always a good idea especially when it comes to stuff you cherish or is important for your work / business. Automating the Backup of your computer is an important task so we have written a Hints and Tips especially for that. (Coming soon)
- Use and maintain anti-virus software and a firewall.
Viruses and malware may steal or modify the data on your own computer and leave you vulnerable. Protect yourself by using anti-virus software (eg Sophos) and a firewall. Make sure to keep your virus definitions up to date.
- Regularly scan your computer for spyware.
Spyware or adware hidden in software programs may affect the performance of your computer and give attackers access to your data. Use a legitimate anti-spyware program (eg Malwarebytes) to scan your computer and remove any of these files. Many anti-virus products have incorporated spyware detection.
- Keep software up to date.
Install software updates (also called patches) so that attackers cannot take advantage of known problems or vulnerabilities. Many operating systems offer automatic updates. If this option is available, you should turn it on.
- Evaluate your software’s settings.
This can get a bit technical. If it does, please feel free to contact us for help. The default settings of most software enable all available functionality, often not all needed. Unfortunately, attackers may be able to take advantage of this functionality to access your computer. It is especially important to check the settings for software that connects to the internet (browsers, email clients, etc.). Apply the highest level of security available that still gives you the functionality you need.
- Avoid unused software programs.
Do not clutter your computer with unnecessary software programs. If you have programs on your computer that you do not use, consider uninstalling them. In addition to consuming system resources, these programs may contain vulnerabilities that, if not fixed with the latest version, may allow an attacker to access your computer. Think before you download programs on a whim. Laptop makers and the Windows operating system are guilty of planting software that you don’t need on your computer to help their profits. Speak to us before you buy your laptop in order to avoid this.
- Consider creating separate user accounts.
Again this may seem a bit geeky. We are here to help if it does. If there are other people using your computer, you may be worried that someone else may accidentally access, modify, and/or delete your files. Most operating systems (including Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux) give you the option of creating a different user account for each user, and you can set the amount of access and privileges for each account. You may also choose to have separate accounts for your work and personal purposes. While this approach will not completely isolate each area, it does offer some additional protection. However, it will not protect your computer against vulnerabilities that give an attacker administrative privileges. Ideally, you will have separate computers for work and personal use; this will offer a different type of protection. It is not a good idea to give yourself Administrative Privileges.
- Establish guidelines for computer use.
If there are multiple people using your computer or computer network, make sure they understand the risks and how to use the computer and internet safely. Setting boundaries and guidelines will help to protect your data. Help your staff stay safe by giving them some basic training. We can help with this too.
- Use passwords and encrypt sensitive files.
Passwords and other security features add more layers of protection if used appropriately. By encrypting files, you ensure that unauthorized people can’t view data even if they can physically access it. You may also want to consider options for full disk encryption, which prevents a thief from even starting your laptop without a pass-phrase. (Note: When you use encryption, it is important to remember your passwords and pass-phrases; if you forget or lose them, you may lose your data.)
- Follow corporate policies for handling and storing work-related information.
If you use your computer for work-related purposes, be sure to follow any corporate policies for handling and storing information. These policies were likely established to protect proprietary information and customer data, as well as to protect you and the company from liability. Even if it is not explicitly stated in your corporate policy, you should avoid allowing other people, including family members, to use a computer that contains corporate data.
- Dispose of sensitive information properly.
Simply deleting a file does not completely erase it. To ensure that an attacker cannot access these files, make sure that you adequately erase sensitive files. US Dept. Of Defence Level 7 is recommended for important stuff.
- Follow good security habits.
Review our other security tips for ways to protect yourself and your data.
- Follow good Business Continuity habits.
Review our other business continuity tips for ways to ensure your data always stays safe.
- Please feel free to distribute these notes.
- GiaKonda IT Ltd can be contacted on 01792422616