Tips on Safety and Security Online & Offline
Hope your weekend was good!
I wanted to share some more tips with you that I recently found and some good computer practices that if you are not doing you should be and I’m not trying to “sell” you anything but this is what I do for a living and it’s important to talk about safety and security even if you don’t go through me for your security needs you should be using someone so this applies to everyone and this isn’t just “spam” it’s good tips to know!
First, I’d like to start out with some great tips that the Effingham County Sheriffs shared on Facebook recently. If you Buy & Sell online this is for you!
Safe Selling/Buying practices
• Trade with local buyers/sellers
• Never go to a transaction alone
• Make sure family members or a friend are aware of the transaction and the meeting place
• Always insist on meeting in a public area like the Sheriffs office
• Never allow a stranger into your home nor you into theirs
• Try to plan all transactions during daylight hours for increased safety
• Be extra careful when buying or selling valuables like vehicles or jewelry
• Trust your instincts – if it feels like a scam then it probably is
• If someone is unwilling to meet you at the Sheriff’s Office safe zone then it is probably not a legitimate deal
Coles County Sheriff’s office can be used as a Safe Space as well
Now as for computer safety and security I get a lot of people that ask me what they should be doing on their new computers to keep it safe and secure and what I tell people when I build them a custom built computer you need 3 main things on a new computer this applies to existing computers as well (even mobile devices like phones and tablets can do this as well).
1. You must have some type of CyberSecurity protection i.e. Antivirus/Malware scanner
What I recommend is Malwarebytes this is a great security company and I’ve personally used them for years and they have always protected me online. They have 2 versions one is a 100% free version which is great if you think you have a problem start the program and ran a scan. then they have a premium version which is what I use and sell to all my customers because it offers real-time protection in the free version you have to manually start the program to use it. Plus it now offers Ransomware protection and this is critical right now! if you have never been infected with Ransomware count yourself lucky because if you get infected its GAME OVER! there is no coming back from a ransomware attack. So get Malwarebytes and use it religiously.
2. Computer Backup Plan
A lot of people overlook this until a disaster happens and then they think OH NO! my pictures my videos all my files are gone! if your computer crashes it’s highly unlikely that any files can be saved I’ve done Data Recovery for several customers in the past and it’s a tedious time consuming and expensive process BUT! if you have a backup plan its a pain but you will recover from a computer crash it’s easy to fix a system or buy a new one but you can’t fix or buy 10 years of your kids growing up or easily rebuild that massive music collection that you just lost.
So, with that said this is the perfect plan for you to safely protect all your files it’s called the 3-2-1 Data Backup method even the United States Government recommends this approach.
In a 2012 paper for US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team), Carnegie Mellon recommended the 3-2-1 method in their publication titled: Data Backup Options.
So what is it?
The 321 rule states you should have 3 copies of your file two of those copies should be on 2 different mediums and 1 copy should be offsite (not in the same location as your computer)
2 different mediums mean you have one copy (the original) on your computer and then you have a second copy on an external drive that is your two different forms of medium you could also have them on a compact disc or even a flash/thumb drive as well.
Offsite means you have your data somewhere other than your home or office i.e. like a safety deposit box or some other location or better yet in the cloud!
Cloud backup is the easy and preferred method for many people because not only will your files be safe but you can easily retrieve them if needed. Some people say I don’t trust the cloud but there is no reason why you shouldn’t sure nothing is full proof hacks and breaches do happen but your files are encrypted so no one will actually be able to view your files or they say what if the cloud loses my files… look it was a few years ago that Amazon admitted that your files could be lost but they promised that only 1 file would be lost every 7.5 million years so I think that’s pretty good odds that you are not gonna lose anything.
So that is the 321 method use it embrace it and live it and you’ll never have to worry about losing a critical file again. Again, nothing is foolproof but you are way ahead of the game.
Now if you want a cloud backup solution I offer and recommend Carbonite again I use them for my own protection against data loss and they have saved me a time or two plus they offer unlimited computer backup space on their residential plan for as little as $71.99/year and lemme tell you if your computer crashes that subscription fee is gonna be worth every penny!
Last but not least 3.
You need some type of Adblocker or Adware security.
I use and recommend Admuncher it’s a completely free program install it and forget about it it just sits in your taskbar and never needs any attention.
So there you have the top 3 things you can do for your computer if you are not doing these 3 things you are jeopardizing your online and computer security.
As a couple bonus tips if you are concerned about your privacy and don’t like being tracked online (yes you are being tracked everything you do is recorded and analyzed!)
Get yourself a VPN this is a Virtual Private Network it comes in either hardware form or software form.
I use and recommend NordVPN it’s a great service great company to deal with and it’s inexpensive you will be completely invisible online with a service like NordVPN if you don’t know how to use a VPN call me I can get you setup on NordVPN and teach you how to use it.
Bonus Tip #2
Maintain your computer on a monthly basis! you want your computer to last at least 3-5 years with no problems right? well, when was the last time you drove a car for 3+ years without an oil change or any maintenance you wouldn’t right? well, the computer is the same way if you want it to run right you have to maintain it and give it a little TLC lemme tell you preventive maintenance is a whole lot cheaper than repair!
Benjamin Franklin famously advised fire-threatened Philadelphians in 1736 that “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Those words are still true today!
I’m not going to go into details about what you should be doing monthly here in this post because this is already turning out to be a book (sorry about that but kudos to you if you are still reading!) I’ll save that topic for another time!
But, I will tell you I know it’s a pain to have to deal with this monthly you get busy you forget or you just don’t know what to do or how to do it this is especially true for the elderly or the disabled or if you are just not that computer savvy.
Well I’m your answer I run a “Peace of Mind” campaign and offer it to all my customers for a small monthly fee (ok yes, I’m trying to sell you on this it’s a shameless plug but it’s a good plug just hear me out lol)
For a small monthly fee, I take care of your monthly maintenance for you this is all done remotely so you don’t have to take your computer anywhere or have any inconvenient visit or appointments your computer gets updated and secured every month so you can safely use the computer and if there are any problems you get discounted rates for any additional service it needs.
It’s really a great plan and what’s better than a professional taking care of your computer! you have mechanics maintain your car and you have plumbers maintain your plumbing and you have electricians maintain your electric wiring and you should have a GeeK maintain your computer (Like me) if you don’t need this tho I’m sure you know someone who does. So call me for details 217-960-4335
And that’s a wrap folks! I hope you saw value in this posting I took a great deal of time crafting this post for your benefit my main goal/mission is educating people on Cybersecurity and it’s true what I said at the beginning I’m not trying to sell you on anything (ok maybe a little bit) but I encourage you to take my recommendations and if not me than have another professional help you or better yet teach yourself how to do what I suggested the main point of this post was not to sell but to educate.
This is free information from an experienced Professional IT Specialist if you want more of it I offer regular workshops on many different topics at 100% no charge just come up and see me at the office and we’ll talk!
Have a Great Week Everyone!