Cryptocurrencies, blockchain & other high tech industries are full of very advanced people with more than average knowledge. Sadly, not all of them originate with good intentions.
Many very talented IT professionals use their skills for creating malware, viruses, and another kind of harmful software. You probably have heard about ransomware software which gets into your computer, encrypts all the data and ask for the payment in cryptocurrencies.
Otherwise, your device stays encrypted and all the data inaccessible. For the purpose of your cyber safety, we decided to make a short post with top 5 security tips which we believe will be helpful and useful.
Use Antimalware software
Probably one of the most important and easiest way to make your device as much secure as possible. Just use Antivirus soft. There are plenty of free options such as Avira, AVG, Avast, etc. Keep in mind that paid software comes with many more beneficial features. But you should be good as long as you use any version of the trusted antimalware software.
Just remember to keep the soft up to date. Various forms of harmful soft evolve daily, so must antidote do. Although, most of the software turns on automatic updates by itself. Due to many unforeseen circumstances, making a full scan of a device once a week is a good practice.
Do not open suspicious files, attachments, and links
In order to virus go inside your device, the specific action must be done. And sometimes even opening a Word document may be enough. That’s why a lot of security experts highly recommend avoiding open any form of suspicious files, attachments or even web links.
If you still need open that, use antivirus built-in file scanner. There is an online version as well – VirusTotal, a great tool! Just choose the file, paste an URL or put in an IP address.
The importance and value of your device, arise from the number of files you keep inside. Photos, rough copy of your master’s degree final work, bank information, various scanned copies, important work documents, etc. Just imagine if all this data gets inaccessible one morning. That can be a total nightmare! Especially if you catch a ransomware virus. As we already mentioned it before, it encrypts all the data in your device. You cannot read it without having a key. And you’re not going get it without paying a ransom fee.
One of the simplest solution for not falling into these traps – have a backup copy! However, it shouldn’t be stored in the same hard drive. Otherwise, that backup could get encrypted too. Gladly, there are a lot of cloud technologies which offer tons of space for your files. Just upload the most important pieces there or use a dedicated software.
On the contrary, files in the cloud may be still accessed by the third parties if the cloud gets hacked or the password is super simple to guess. In that case, use an external storage – portable HDD, SSD or a USB drive. You should use this method equally for the top-secret files.
Use different and secure passwords
Most of the time, people get hacked just because of using a weak password. Even if it sounds too simple to be true, sadly that is! We have already said that in our other article – Secure Email For Keeping Your Identity Safe, people use way too simple passwords. And that’s a big mistake which may lead to a lot of problems and losses. For this reason, we recommend using different passwords for all your online accounts. Starting with email, ending with a simple portal account. The more different passes you use, the fewer chances of being hacked you have. Simple as that – no secrets, no bullshit.
Of course, managing all these random words and combinations of numbers can be a real hard task. But there are a lot of great helpers such as KeePass (free & open source), Password Safe, LastPass (it isn’t recommended by some of the security experts).
Super tip: never store passwords in a plain format on your device. They would be revealed if it gets accessed by a 3rd party, gets infected with ransomware virus, or a device gets lost. Use one of the mentioned application.
Encrypt all the data
The last of our security tips. But the same important as others.
If someone accesses your device, he can read all the data stored inside. And if the files lay in plain zeros and ones, consider it screwed up. That’s where an encryption comes in (read here more on how the encryption works). When all information gets encrypted, an attacker has almost zero chances to access it without knowing a key. Even a supercomputer would take hundreds of years to decrypt the data if a key is long enough. Not to mention that a pass should be hard to guess.
There are many encryption software available. The smartest and most experienced experts highly advise going with open source and free options. One of them – VeraCrypt (a fork of TrueCrypt, the famous encryption software which was discontinued). Also, Windows and MacOS have built-in encryption tools – BitLocker & FireVault respectively. For a basic user, it should be more than enough.
Generally speaking, the security depends only on us and how we behave online. There are no secret technologies which can put a virus to the computer through an electric socket (well at least now). Also, no one is giving away free millions. Just follow the common sense and you should be good.
We hope all these security tips help to keep your files, passwords and online life safe!