These days, none of us can afford to regard cybersecurity as an afterthought. In the absence of solid security measures, our computers and other personal devices can fall victim to the machinations of virus developers, malware spreaders and other breeds of cybercriminals. No matter how lucky you’ve been up to now, one simple oversight is all it takes for a cyber threat to find its way onto your PC and turn your world upside down. Fortunately, bolstering your digital defenses doesn’t have to eat up a lot of time or financial resources. If heightened cybersecurity is what you’re after, the following measures are sure to prove useful.
Promptly Install Operating System Updates
Both Windows and macOS provide users with an array of security features. However, to enjoy the full benefits of these features, you’ll need to keep your operating system up to date. Since many system updates contain security-related elements and are created in response to new threats, it’s in your best interest to install them posthaste. The longer you sit on system updates and allow them to pile up, the more vulnerable your computer becomes. Viruses and malware often take advantage of security gaps in software and operating systems, so placing system updates on the backburner isn’t going to do you any favors.
If you can’t be bothered to manually install new updates, consider enabling automatic updates. Conversely, if you prefer to know exactly what each update entails, make a point of carefully reviewing each update and identifying any security-related elements. Since installing updates sometimes requires us to temporarily stop whatever we’re doing on our computers, many people delay updating for as long as possible. While the installation process can present a minor inconvenience, updating your operating system in a timely manner will cause you far less stress than a virus or malware infection.
Use Dedicated Antivirus Software
As previously stated, Windows and macOS contain built-in security features. Although these features can be a boon to your cybersecurity efforts, they can’t take the place of dedicated antivirus software. A dependable antivirus program will be able to identify and remove an extensive range of viruses, malware and other threats in an efficient and expedient fashion. Furthermore, as is the case with operating systems, antivirus software needs to be updated consistently in order to be fully effective. In the interest of helping your antivirus program do its job with minimal interference, enable automatic updates. Unlike O.S. updates, most antivirus updates won’t slow your system down or require you to stop what you’re doing.
Avoid Clicking Links from Unfamiliar Sources
Clicking malicious links is among the most common ways through which viruses and malware are spread. In some instances, clicking these links will install viruses and other unwelcome software on your computer. Other times, the links will redirect you to sites that are teeming with malware. Fortunately, when it comes to avoiding suspicious links, a little bit of common sense can go a long way.
To start with, never click links found in emails, private messages or social media posts from people you don’t personally know. Furthermore, even if a communique or post appears to be from a trusted party, exercise caution if this seems like something they wouldn’t ordinarily share, as this may indicate that they’ve been hacked. In addition to suspicious links, make a point of never clicking on popups and installing a dependable popup-blocking browser extension.
Heed Security Warnings from Your Browser
If your browser informs you that a site is unsecured, you’d do well to heed this warning. Additionally, if a website lacks Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certification, you may want to think twice about visiting it, particularly if it’s a site that requires you to provide personal information. You can determine whether a site is SSL certified by looking at its URL and confirming that it begins with “HTTP.”
There’s no denying that virus makers and malware developers are highly adaptable. Whenever a breakthrough is made in the field of cybersecurity, these dedicated criminals immediately start trying to find ways around it. In order to keep your PC, internet-capable devices and personal information safe, you’ll need to take measures to stay one step ahead of the bad guys. While this may strike you as challenging or prohibitively expensive, keeping cybercriminals at bay is surprisingly easy – provided you’re just as willing to adapt as they are.