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5 Habits To Keep You Safe When Using A Computer

Dec 17, 2019

Perhaps you know the safest way to protect yourself from network attacks is to make a habit of using your computer. But what are those good habits, and not everyone will "trade" quite cumbersome habits for convenience and quickness until you encounter problems.

However, online safety does not necessarily trade your time if you use it properly and reasonably. You only need to spend an hour or two on weekends to organize things, gradually build up your cybersecurity habits, and then you'll get used to those routines.

1. Use VPN anytime, anywhere

Cyber security experts are always concerned about eavesdropping and surveillance activities when users go online, and based on the data collected, bad guys will attack victims or steal information. This is very likely in public Wi-Fi access locations, without passwords, fake mobile broadcast stations and hotel Wi-Fi if hackers intentionally target business people. Or go on business.

While two-factor authentication and high-security websites using https can limit the risk of data loss, a good hacker can gain a lot of information from you when you visit sites that are deemed safe. You also need to know there are some insecure applications running in the background on your computer.

Therefore, connecting the Internet through a virtual private network (VPN), in which all data flows into / out of the computer, via an encrypted channel to a secure Internet gateway is worth doing. Another advantage of this method is that it will hide your real IP address so it greatly reduces the chance for bad guys to commit fraud.

There are also many VPN solutions on the market, such as Opera VPN, VyprVPN or PureVPN, for both individual and business users, with fees ranging from free to $ 10 per month. Most VPN services provide customers to log in through their server systems without requiring customers to do much. You only need to consider choosing the appropriate VPN service, near you, depending on your area of residence or business trip to get good access speed. VPN services also support the number of concurrent access devices, the support platform, and the reliability of each service.

For technical users, another way is to establish a VPN connection to an VPN server in the office, or even on a home router. This is worth considering as many routers and newer network devices often add features that act as a VPN server. For example, the Synology RT1900ac router ($ 150 on Amazon) has software to turn the router into a VPN server.

2. Turn on two-factor authentication for online accounts

Passwords must be long, complex, use different passwords for each online account, and manage all passwords with a single password management application. All of these are important, but they are not enough to protect you from cyber attacks at this time.

Bad guys have lots of ways to steal fixed passwords. For example, devices like the $ 99 Pineapple Wi-Fi can obscure an existing Wi-Fi network, hardware for only $ 10 can eavesdrop and decode every signal that your wireless keyboard has. The keylogger can be attached to a PC to record everything you type on the keyboard without having to install any keylogger software. These devices are for sale on Amazon. Meanwhile, malware attacks, software failures and man-in-the-middle attacks are always hidden somewhere you don't know.

Therefore, a dynamic code, always changing and generated as soon as you log into a certain online account, through a secure channel will solve the potential, risks of fixed passwords, right away. even if your permanent password falls into the wrong hands. The simplest and most common way is the security method to send a piece of code to the phone, via SMS when you log in. You just need to type that code to login.

Because the code is sent to the phone, experts say this is the simplest form of two-step verification. Other experts say that because it's based on SMS, it's not really secure and can still be tampered with by bad guys if they get your phone, and they think this is not really a regulation. two-step authentication. But in terms of semantics, two-step authentication is obviously much safer than relying only on passwords.

There are safer ways to authenticate two steps, such as a device that automatically generates a unique code at a single time, without the need for an SMS code system, such as the $ 40 Yubikey device you attach to your device. charged via USB. Many other authentication methods are also becoming more common, adding that other element to the authentication process (such as fingerprints, iris or other biometric data). Experts call this two-factor authentication.

Many online services have begun to offer multi-step authentication to users, but the closest for you is the email services you are using, followed by online storage services. Email is more important, because if hackers hijack your email, they can reset the password on every other online account the email links to.

In fact, the email that the customer service department in businesses is most used by hackers to perform non-technical scams (social-engineer). Security experts recommend that for extremely important email-related accounts, such as the Amazon Web Services root account, users should not use this email to sign up for any other service.

Some banks offer two-factor authentication solutions for customers when signing up for online accounts using tokens.

3. Always lock the PC


A habit that most computer users pay little attention to is that we often leave the PC unlocked when leaving, especially when in the office. For example, many users who log on to the computer with administrator rights only need a few seconds of unauthorized access, bad guys can install malicious software (malware) or spyware (spyware) on the computer without being anti-virus software detect.

The simple solution is to lock the device password if you have to leave the computer for a while, so that no one can touch the system when you're not there. This is a necessary habit and you can easily lock your computer with a keyboard shortcut on the keyboard. On a Windows PC, simply press . On a Mac, you need to set it up a bit: go to System Preferences, Security & Privacy> General, select "Require password ... after sleep or screen saver begins" and select "immediately" from the drop-down menu. To lock the screen, press . Older Macs with an optical drive can lock the keyboard with the Control + Shift + Eject keyboard shortcut.

When you return, you will need to enter a password to unlock the device, which is a bit inconvenient for you to protect your computer. Of course, if you're using a laptop with built-in fingerprints or facial recognition, you don't need to enter a password.

Even if you have a habit of locking the computer, you should still set the computer to automatically lock after a certain period of inactivity in case you forget. You simply set the time to automatically lock the device before the device goes into "sleep" state (sleep) and require a password when "recovering" (resume) the machine. Another method is to adjust the screensaver to prompt you to enter your password.

Another way to lock a device is to use a physical token, like a hard key, to automatically lock the device. The $ 60 GateKeeper includes a USB head and a small external device, like a lock and key. You attach the USB end to your computer and it communicates with the receiver via Bluetooth, automatically signs in when you're near it, and automatically locks your phone when you're away.

4. Encrypt the hard drive

Encrypting data on a PC is an important step to ensure your data is not snooped on. Hard drives found in some business laptops are easy to swap, copy or install spyware. Hard drive encryption means that the data on the hard drive will only be "garbage" when displayed on other systems. Even if you are not concerned about hard disk swapping, disk encryption is always an extra layer of security against prying eyes to see your data, or in case you are. lost or lost a laptop.

Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 encrypt the hard drive by default, although 8.1 requires you to make a number of requirements before the operating system encrypts it, while Windows 10 requires you to have a Microsoft account with administrator privileges or log in. into a Windows domain. If you want, go to Control Panel> BitLocker Drive Encryption or Settings> About to ensure that hard drive encryption using BitLocker is enabled.

For Mac users, you can enable hard disk encryption in FileVault: go to Systems Preferences> Security & Privacy> FileVault. For OS X 10.10 Yosemite, this feature is on by default, but it's best to check again.

5. Ensure your Wi-Fi network is secure

Wi-Fi routers for homes and small offices and access points (APs) are devices that we usually set up and leave. But really, they deserve more time to increase security for the network.

Because wireless signals often emit in all directions, it is important that you enable encryption to prevent signals from being snooped and compromised. Vulnerabilities in old wireless security protocols such as WEP mean that a bad guy can take a few minutes to get through. Although the new generation routers and APs have abandoned the WEP protocol and replaced it with WPA or WPA2, it's still best to check old Wi-Fi devices to see if the router is using WEP or WEP2 to switch to the protocol. better security.

And you should note that currently, the WPA protocol is no longer secure, because this protocol is based on the unsecured TKIP encryption protocol, so it is best to choose WPA2 and AES encryption. If your router or AP doesn't support WPA2, it's time to change your device.

For simplicity, most home and small office networks often use static, unique passwords or encryption keys to protect data transmitted over the network. Unfortunately, it is easy for hackers to use brute force (multiple guesses and password detectors) techniques to crack wireless networks. Because there are countless tools for security circles as well as hackers to do this.

The most common wireless attack, however, is capturing wireless data packets between a router and a connected device. To reduce decoding time, bad guys often rely on built-in hash tables, which technology calls rainbow tables, or take advantage of the GPU's processing capabilities to save time decoding.

Therefore, to make it difficult for bad guys to break the code, you need to set a long password, with many complex characters. This will greatly interfere with the bad guys if they want to decrypt the password using brute force as above.

Experts also recommend not to name the Wi-Fi network (SSID) with generic names such as "Home", "WLAN" or "Wireless Network" but use a unique name, because WPA / WPA2 combines with the SSID name constitutes an encryption key. Because data that hackers have from rainbow tables is based on the most common 1,000 SSIDs, the more common the SSIDs, the higher the risk.

Finally, many home and small office Wi-Fi and AP routers support Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), a standard designed to enhance device security at the touch of a button. You should disable this feature because each manufacturer offers different settings, so it is an attractive target for brute force attacks because this standard only relies on a sequence of 8 numbers.

The above five tips will not guarantee your system is absolutely safe, but these are good ways that you should follow and create a habit for yourself when surfing the web or using internet applications.
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