Don’t forget the basics

The threats are real, and it is possible to defend against them effectively. That's a summary of the previous chapter of this series. Today we will focus on preventive measures.

They are simple and cheap. On the other hand, reacting retrospectively to a security incident that has already happened is expensive, complicated, and often even impossible.

Keep up with the times

Imagine you are the ruler of the castle. It has a down bridge, thick walls, tall towers, and a deep moat. An intelligent attacker will manage to avoid all of this and will try to get inside the castle through its weakest spot. If you found such a spot, wouldn’t you do anything?

Your computer is like a digital castle. Even though you might think that it’s secure enough, it may also have more weak spots. You can eliminate a number of them by simply updating your software.

But you know what, the update offer pops up at the least convenient moment. So, without hesitation, you close it immediately and postpone it for “next time.” This way, you can delay it for a very long time, and it wouldn’t seem like a problem. But! It would be best if you always kept in mind that every time you delay updates, you could be leaving a potentially nonsecure spot on your computer.

Basics recommendation for updates:

  • Don’t delay updates. Especially not for software you frequently use (operation system, web explorer, office suite, e-mail client, etc.).
  • If possible, always set automatic updates during the installation.
  • Don’t forget about other devices you use (mobile phone, tablet, watch, etc.).

Get a guardian

It is never certain that Your castle no longer has any weak spots. Exactly opposite. That’s why you must have your guards in the castle, who will find the attacker before he does any damage.
In your computer, such guardian is anti-malware software, more commonly known as an antivirus.

Malware is a general term for any malicious code. A virus is just one type of malicious code. Anti-malware, therefore, protect you not only from viruses but also from other nasty things. :)

The basic rule when speaking about anti-malware software is: you must have anti-malware! Without exception.

But which one to choose? The offer is varied, and some of this software is free in the basic version. Paid versions offer more complex protection, but even the free ones will serve you more than well. Always choose a product that comes from a trusted company. Independent comparison reviews can be found on the web to help you decide. For example, anti-malware from Avast (www.avast.com) is reliable, free, and easy to use. Moreover, the MU Institute of Computer Science ensures the annual centralized purchase of licenses for other anti-malware.

Suppose you have already selected a program and you use it. In that case, you must also remember that updating it regularly (see point 1) is very important, and don’t ignore the warning messages. Only then can the guardian of your castle fulfill his function.

Basic recommendations for anti-malware:

  • Use anti-malware from a trusted company.
  • Update it regularly (set automatic updates).
  • Don’t ignore its warnings.

Think about the worst

Castles aren’t impregnable. Despite all precautions, attackers can get into the castle. This analogy also applies to the digital word. For example, a completely new vulnerability may appear – so it can’t be fixed by an update, and anti-malware may not detect the attack exploiting this new weakness. For these and similar cases, it is advisable to have a backup plan – for castles, an escape corridor, and for computers, backed up data (identical copies of the original data).

By backing up your data, you will save yourself a lot of inconveniences that would otherwise be caused by losing it. It is not for nothing that it is said that users are divided into two groups: those who do not back up and those who have already lost their data.

For the backup to really work, its regularity is essential. The ideal solution is to set up an automatic backup (on the website, you can find many tutorials for various programs and operating systems). Alternatively, you can set up your process (e.g., "I will always do backups on Sunday evenings"). But there is a risk that you will forget about it.

Basic backup recommendations are:

  • Back up your data.
  • Back up regularly.
  • Follow the 3 – 2 – 1 rule.

In conclusion

The information you have obtained in this article will not be helpful to you if it won’t reflect your behavior. Therefore, review the basic recommendations above and assess how much you align with them. By following them, you will make your castle a much safer place.

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