When offered a choice between connecting to an unsecured network vs. a secured network, always choose the latter. The ease of connecting to an unsecured network is enticing at times, but logging in with credentials always pays off. If no secured network is available, use a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, to minimize risk.
Set up a bi weekly automatic back up to minimize data loss when encountering file corruption or compromise. Both Mac and Windows operating systems allow users to back up to the cloud or an external drive.
Enable automatic anti-virus scans and address any issues the scan finds immediately. Firewalls act as network guards, determining who or what is allowed into the system, and permissions for each. It is recommended the firewall is always turned on regardless of network location and that the firewall blocks incoming connections not added to the exception list.
Update programs when notified, and manually check programs that may not automatically prompt users. Patches are often released to improve user experience or remove bugs, but sometimes updates are pushed to close backdoors. Frequently patching helps keep users safe.
Choose passwords that are not easy for computers to guess. Traditionally, strong passwords are over contain symbols, upper and lower case letters, and numbers. Recent studies suggest traditional recommendations may not be the best. Next week, Michael will further explain how to build a secure password.