6 BASIC DATA/COMPUTER SECURITY TIPS
Here are six security tips to keep your data and computer safe. These tips were featured in our network
administration partner, Airstream’s, quarterly newsletter. Some additional content been added to the article by TCC.
1. Use a Password Manager
A password manager, like our Password Genie, stores all your passwords in one safe place, behind one or more layers of encryption to keep passwords and other information out of the reach of identity thieves and viruses and malware. These programs can automatically fill in your usernames and passwords, create new passwords when needed, update stored passwords when you change it yourself and list all your stored passwords for easy access/printing. Password Genie is included at no extra charge with TCC Internet – you just have to request it so we can send you the download link.
2. Check Your Anti-Virus Software
The first step is to HAVE anti-virus software installed on your computer. Most anti-virus software will update and run itself but it is a great idea to check on it at least once per week to make sure the anti-virus is updated and scanning properly. It is also a good idea to run a manual scan yourself every week or so because you can run a more thorough scan manually than the standard, automated scan. While mobile devices are generally at a lower risk of viruses than computers, they are not 100% safe – especially if you have an android device. We recommend having anti-virus protection on your mobile devices as well.
TCC Internet includes an anti-virus program with the “Tech Home” suite of programs. The program is called SecureIT and it protects you from ALL Internet threats and includes 24/7 support (with remote assistance) and a guarantee. Read more about Tech Home and SecureIT.
3. Clear Your Browser Cache
Your browser cache is a collection of website files, settings, login credentials, and other data that accumulates in your computer over time. Too many files in your cache can actually slow down your browsing or make your browser revert to old preferences or use old login credentials, so it’s a good idea to clear your browser cache every 6 to 12 months. Typically, you access this through the “tools” icon in the upper right corner of your browser or through the settings for your browser program in the main settings. Note: doing so *may* delete any stored passwords for websites you’ve visited from that browser so if you don’t have a password manager program (Password Genie), you may need to retype your password(s).
4. Update your Passwords
If a website you use regularly gets breached, the password on file with them at the time will be compromised. Changing your passwords from time to time, will at least minimize the risk to your account.
In addition to updating passwords if you think they are breached, it’s also a good idea to change any “easy” passwords to something longer and more difficult to crack. A password of 10 or more characters is recommended for better security. You can also use a pass phrase — a short sentence run together to make a password (e.g. mycarissilver) or simply duplicate a word to make your password longer without making it harder to remember.
5. Update Browsers and/or Operating System
Web browsers and the operating system itself are prime targets of hackers. Updates are routinely made available to close loopholes and prevent new ones. Operating system updates are usually automatic but you may have to approve them or reboot for them to take effect. It is important so take the time to do it! To update your browser, click the “Help” or “?” icon in your browser and look for “check for updates.”
6. Review your Apps (smartphone/tablet)
Take time to go through apps and settings on your device and remove any apps you don’t use. This will help save space on your device and eliminate apps that could be monitoring your activity and feeding it back to a website. Also, review the permissions of your apps so you can monitor/control what apps can or cannot do on their own. For example, it’s good to see which apps can use the Internet when you are on a “data” connection vs. wifi to control your data usage.