While computer technology advancements have made life easier, the security threats for PC users have become more malicious as cybercriminals become smarter and better equipped. To be able to use a computer safely, it is important to practice safe cyber hygiene.
PC security threats are dangers that can bring your computer to a stop or affect the functionality of the computer. Security attacks on a PC can include adware, malware, and any other attack meant to harm a computer.
If you are concerned about your computer’s security, learning about the most common security threats for PCs can make it easier for you to protect your computer.
Common security and privacy risks facing PC users
This is the most common type of computer threat. Computer viruses are malicious programs meant to replicate and infect programs once inside your computer, rendering the infected files non-functional.
A virus mostly attaches itself to a computer add-on, making it easy to access the computer. Once inside the computer, it functions in the background and can go unnoticed by the user.
Also Read: 4 Security Tips for Your Small Business!!!
These are self-replicating computer programs meant to spread malicious code once inside the computer.
Once replicated, these codes are sent to other computers on the same network to steal or destroy data.
This is one of the most damaging threats to ordinary computer users. Ransomware attacks make use of damaging malware programs that take computer files and data hostage.
The malware will encrypt the files it infects and demand ransom to make the files accessible again. The attacker can keep the file locked or permanently delete it if the ransom is not paid.
Ransomware is spread through malicious attachments disguised as reliable links meant to dupe the user into opening it to read the code.
Ransomware can also be set through clickbait advertising. A ransomware attack puts every data in your computer at risk of loss or breach.
If you spend most of your time outdoors, you end up using public Wi-Fi services more often than not. Most public Wi-Fi networks pose a great security challenge to computer users because they have weak or no security protocols in place.
When you log into a public Wi-Fi without the proper security measures, you open up your computers to man-in-the-middle attacks.
Public Wi-Fi networks are also used for network spoofing threats where hackers create fake access points almost identical to legitimate networks.
Once you log in to this network, the hacker gains access to your computer traffic and data.
Spam is one of the oldest tricks used by hackers to gain access to user computers. Each time to access your email using your computer, you come across tones of unwanted messages from sources you know nothing about.
When you leave your spam folder uncleaned, most of the junk mail can end up taking up space in your mails server.
Some spam mails can carry malicious links meant to infect your computer with malware if you click on these links.
While phishing may share some similarities with spam mail, a phishing attack is much more sophisticated – it is created with malicious intent. In a typical phishing attack, a hacker creates an imitation website and email.
They use this email and fake website to trick unsuspecting recipients into disclosing their personal login data or personal information.
Often, phishing emails are created with words that create a sense of urgency for the recipient. They threaten to close your account or lie that your account has been hacked, and you need to change your login details by clicking on a provided link.
Once you enter your details, the hacker logs in to your legitimate account.
How PC users can protect their devices
Always lock your computer
If you are concerned about the security of your PC, it is important to create a habit of shutting down and locking the computer whenever it is not in use.
Setup a password security lock for your computer to make it harder for people to access it without your permission. This is one of the basics of protecting your PC.
Update your computer regularly
The best way to keep your PC secure is by installing all recommended systems updated whenever available.
These updates install security protocols that counter any vulnerabilities in the previous version. Hackers attack outdated operating systems by taking advantage of common security loopholes.
Install an antivirus
Antivirus protects your computer from harmful programs meant to compromise your data, slow down your device or cause it to crash.
They can also be used to take over your computer to send spam. An antivirus program scans your computer often to find and remove viruses before they wreak havoc on your machine.
Download a VPN
A VPN is the best way to ensure anonymity online. If you wonder how a VPN works when it comes to protecting your computer, a VPN creates a safe tunnel for all data exchange between your computer and the network you are connected to.
This ensures that your data remains protected and encrypted, even on public Wi-Fi networks. When you access the internet through a Virtual Private Network, all incoming and outgoing traffic is channeled through this secure tunnel.
Update your passwords
You can protect your computer from intruders by ensuring you have a strong password. The best passwords include uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
Also, ensure you choose unique passwords for all your online accounts and avoid storing your passwords in the browser. The best way to keep your passwords safe is by using a password managing application.
Password managers make it easy for you to use unique passwords for all your accounts without memorizing any of them.
Enable two-factor authentication
While creating strong passwords and managing them with a secure password manager can help protect your computer and data, 2FA or Two-Factor Authentication is an ideal security backup for your Passwords.
When you enable 2FA, anyone trying to access your accounts or computer files is required to present a set of codes after the password. These codes are delivered to the user’s mobile device or authenticator app, reducing the likelihood of falling into the hands of a hacker.
While there are no guarantees that a computer can be immune to hacks, following basic security guidelines to boost PC security can go a long way in making it a harder target for hackers.
The tips above can go a long way in protecting the privacy and safety of your computer and data.