General everyday user security guidelines
As the next step to our previous blog on security for everyday users, our next topic is on general steps one can take to ensure their accounts are safe, and their sensitive information/pictures etc not exposed.
Ensure you are using an operating system which has the latest version of the OS or at least the OS where security updates are available. For windows we recommend Windows 10, although windows 7 has security updates available still you can check at https://support.microsoft.com/en-in/help/13853/windows-lifecycle-fact-sheet and for Apple devices you need to ensure you use the latest OS https://support.apple.com/en-in/HT201222, Apple does not publish any end of life schedules. It's important to ensure your regular security updates are happening.
Ensure you have an antivirus/antimalware solution in place. Windows defender is by default available. Please ensure its active and running. Check the settings in Start > Run > "Defender" > Virus & threat protection in Windows 10.
Your mobile device needs to have some kind of lock using password or fingerprint recognition. Don’t keep it unprotected.
Don’t use simple passwords. Please refer to our password guidelines blog.
Use 2 factor authentication when available on all your accounts. This may seem to be a pain but its just 1 extra step and ensures you are secure.
Do not click on suspicious links or emails. If you are not sure always confirm the contents of the email from the person who has sent it before opening any link or file.
Always logout of your account (website and system) and shut down when you are done.
Always check the URL address when sending sensitive details, so if there is a promotional scheme and amazon is asking for login details, it likely should be https://www.amazon.com or .co.uk or .de rather than www.amazon-mega-sale02.com
Beware of over the shoulder vulnerability (where a person behind you can watch what you type) when entering sensitive details like passwords. Don’t be shy to ask them to look away. It’s your right.
If you find it difficult to remember all your passwords don’t write it on a notebook or even unprotected in a file, rather use tools like KeePass which is an easy to use password manager https://keepass.info/
Always keep backup of your important stuff. And even create backup of the backup. Invest in an external drive and most now come with a backup utility else use https://www.freefilesync.org/ (untick the adware when installing). Additionally, use cloud storage like Google Drive or Dropbox which are easy to use. But keep in mind they just sync the data, so if you delete the file by accident they won’t help.
Be careful of what you install. Ensure you don’t use pirated OS or software, and check if you have valid licenses for your software. Install only what’s needed. Once a while check what’s installed on your OS and remove unwanted stuff.
If you feel your system is acting up, get it checked immediately before using it. The drive might be affected in which case an immediate diagnosis and recovery of data can help save you a lot of headache, or there might be a software problem or malware/virus which needs to be fixed.
Be careful of whom you share your device with even for a short while. Always track what is being done. People can access your sensitive material easily, and even install malicious software
We wish you a happy and secure surfing, blogging, social-networking, internet banking or general working on your devices!