The moment you connected your computer to the Internet, you placed it on the 'cyber' battlefield. You might not want to fight in a cyber war, you probably just want to browse the web and check Facebook in peace, but simply by connecting your computer to the Internet, you have placed it, and everything on it, 'in harm's way'.
Would you send a soldier off to battle without body armor? No, so don't send your computer out into the fray unprotected. The enemy doesn't care what country you claim as your own, they don't care that behind the screen is a 65 year-old grandmother who loves to knit sweaters and watch funny cat videos.
All the enemy cares about is either compromising your computer to use it as a resource to attack other computers or stealing valuable information contained on your system so that they can leverage it to steal your identity, or make some other kind of financial gain with it.
It's really that simple.
So ask yourself the question: Is my computer ready for battle? Here are some tips for preparing your computer for the cyber battlefield:
If your body armor has a bunch of holes in it and looks like swiss cheese, it's not going to do a very good job of protecting you, is it? The same goes for your computer or your smarthphone.
Turn on your operating system's automatic update feature to ensure that patches (especially security-related ones) are applied as soon as they are made available by the OS vendor. Check to see that your software applications and browser plug-ins are patched as well. Don't overlook your hardware. Some of your network components, such as your router, will likely have firmware updates available that patch security holes and add new features.
Set yourself a calendar reminder to check for new updates for your hardware and software at least once a month. One unpatched vulnerability is all it takes for a hacker to compromise your system.
Look at our coprehensive guide on how to protect your privacy on Windows and how to know if your smartphone has been hacked
Part of any good computer defense is antimalware scanning software. You should ideally have a primary first line antivirus scanner and a second line scanner (a.k.a. second opinion scanner) as well. Don't rely on a single vendor solution as some malware makers will design their malware to evade some of the more popular commercial scanners.
A Personal VPN or Virtual Private Network, once a luxury afforded only by big corporations, is now available to everyone for as little as $2 a month. Personal VPN like Trust.Zone can be used to enhance privacy by permitting you to browse anonymously. Personal VPNs can also protect all of your network traffic behind a wall of strong encryption that will help to prevent eavesdropping attacks.
A firewall acts as your own personal network traffic cop. Your router likely features a built-in firewall as does your operating system. Turn them on and take advantage of the security benefits they provide. Don't forget to Test Your Firewall to ensure that it is truly doing what it's supposed to do.
Inevitably, you may do all of the above and somehow end up getting hacked anyway. When this happens, you're going to want to be able to start over and reload your system(if needed). You're going to need to restore your files once you get your system clean. If you weren't backing up your important data on a regular basis then you may be out of luck. Set up a backup routine and make it as automated and painless as possible. Check your backup media periodically as well to make sure that those disks actually have something on them.
You shouldn't have all your eggs in one backup basket. Make sure you have a secondary backup method, such as secured cloud storage, in case your primary backup method goes up in smoke.
Nicholas H. Parker is a business coach and marketing manager with a huge experience. He writes articles for those who want to buy essays to develop their knowledge. He is highly interested in the web design sphere.