Whether an act of terrorism or for the amusement of a single person, there are many people who would happily use your tech for their own goals. For example, a recent DDoS attack involved many computers just like the one you may use at home, work, or school. Malicious code can have your tech participating in a wide scale internet-based assault without your knowledge.
While organizations that fight terrorism, like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, are coming up with new ways to defend ourselves against these threats, there is also something you can do. By properly securing your devices you can prevent them from being used to harm others. To help you make sure you are doing everything you can, here are some key tips to get you started.
Antivirus and other antimalware software helps prevent malicious software from accessing your computer before it has the opportunity to do harm. Not only will it protect your data, it also stops your computer from becoming part of a botnet. It can also intercept spyware and ransomware before it is installed onto your computer.
While these software programs aren’t bulletproof, they do prevent the majority of attacks. To help keep your computer secure, make sure you update your software on a regular basis. Your antivirus protection is only as strong as its last update, and new threats come out every day. Keeping you software up to date is your first, and primary, form of defense.
Reconsider Being “Always Connected”
Some malicious software immediately causes damage to your computer. Other forms, like Trojans, sit and wait until the right moment. In the case of botnet attacks, the malicious software instructs the computer to perform certain actions to prevent access to the targeted site. If you leave your computer on and connected to the internet at all times, your computer may be involved even when you are not actively using the system. While disconnecting may not prevent the original infection, it does stop your computer from performing certain actions while you are away.
Most people leave their computers on (sleep mode is still on) and actively connected to the internet. By disconnecting for your internet connection, or simply turning the machine off, you can lessen the likelihood that your system would be used in such a way.
Use Strong Passwords
Using a strong password can protect your network and accounts from unauthorized access. You want to make sure that your passwords are not easy to guess, and should have a different password for every network or account you access.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, start by making sure each password is at least eight characters long. You also want to use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. Ideally, you don’t want to use a word from the dictionary without making modifications. For example, if you want to use the word rainbows, consider writing it as follows: R@1nb0w
By substituting numbers and special characters for some of the letters, you can still use the word rainbow as your base and modify it to be harder to guess. Choose symbols and numbers that resemble the letters being replaced, and you will likely have a reasonably easy time remembering it too.