Have you gotten to a point when you just sit down and find yourself reciting the saying “ when it rains it pours”? well, my friend Paul, who is the head accountant in one of the industrial companies along Mombasa road, had that experience last week on Tuesday when he did a 2.3M wire transfer to a fraudster online and his laptop crashed on the same day. After investigation, it was found that a hacker had intercepted his emails and also installed a virus in his machine.
This got me thinking about writing an article about some of the safest option we ignore and end up costing us a fortune. Below are some of the security tips to note.
Laptop Security tips for Kenyans
Require Password when logging in
Don’t tease a thief as my uncle Sammy always said. Most of the time a thief will take time to study the merchandise before stealing. This helps them calculate the risk and property value. Working with a laptop that doesn’t have a password, you will just be enticing the thief to consider stealing your machine. Make sure the password is strong and difficult to guess, so don’t use your name, nickname, birthday or a lovers name. To create a strong password use Caps, numbers, special characters and ensure the password is longer than 8 characters. Lastly, ensure you can remember the password else you will lock yourself out, but just incase you did, Here is how to automatically disable the login on start on macOS.
Protect your hard drive
If your work involves alot of private data and information then the laptop password will not cut it to ensure you have a secure laptop. If your laptop is stolen or the attacker has a lot of time, he can remove the hard drive and read the files directly. To prevent this and to protect your data from physical attacks, encrypt your laptop’s hard drive. Here is how to do this on a macOS and a Windows PC.
Install an antivirus on your machine
One of the easiest ways to lose you data or completely crash your machine is not having an anti-virus. Antivirus programs are designed to protect your computer from malware, a term used to describe malicious software. Malicious software, including viruses, trojans and keyloggers, may delete your files, slow your computer and steal your personal data. Consequently, choosing a good antivirus program is imperative.
Be cautious when Browsing Online
When browsing online it is advisable to disable the pop-ups. The pop-ups are usually annoying and in addition, one of the key ways hackers use to solicit personal information from people. Especially now we have the auto fill features it is very easy to submit a form by mistake. Ensure you avoid certain website where you see multiple pages opening when interacting with the websites. Lastly, ensure that you have an anti virus that has online protection as a feature. An example of such an anti virus is the Avast and Kaspersky.
Be careful when opening Suspicious Emails
Emails are used as one of the key communication channels by most corporate. Hackers know this and use emails as one of the main channels to spread a virus or collect private data. You can have an email scanner that is able to detect malicious emails and block them. Gmail has a scanner but still, you have to be careful because they cannot be able to completely eliminate the spam emails.
Keep your system and software up to date
The best way to keep your laptop malware-free is to not download random things (e.g., a weird Flash update) and to keep your software up to date. Modern browsers such as Chrome and Firefox have auto-update enabled by default, but you still need to restart them from time to time. Make sure to turn on auto-update for your operating system and apps to benefits from the latest security patches.
Regular Data Backups
In order to protect organizations from the harsh effects of ransomwares, frequent offsite back-ups should be the very first step to be taken. However, caution should be taken with automating the backup process because the maliciously encrypted files may be backed up as well, infecting the rest of the clean backed up files. To make the back-ups ransomware proof, you should use a drive that isn’t mounted to a particular workstation, especially if the workstations in the company are connected to the internet. This can be achieved by streaming the data over the network to another workstation or storage device using a back-up application. Security controls should also be put in place to prevent network users from accessing back-ups. The off-site backups could also be encrypted to prevent unauthorized access.
Prevent damage by adding a cover
Last, but not least, you can add a cover to reduce the risk of your laptop being damaged if it falls or is bumped.
Taking a few simple steps can go a long way toward protecting your privacy and making your laptop more secure.