Top 6 Simple Solutions for Staying Safe Online

Technology has become a part of our everyday lives and cybersecurity has taken on a whole new meaning. It’s not only about protecting your computer from viruses anymore, it also includes keeping trespassers off your home Wi-Fi, and ensuring yours and your children’s mobile devices are safe from uninvited guests.

Did you know that there’s a hacker attack every 39 seconds that impacts one in three Americans each year? There are approximately 230,000 new malware samples each day, all looking to make their way into your computer or device.

Our team at GEFNET knows a thing or two about cybersecurity because it’s something we help our clients with every day. We’ve been on many a house call where one inadvertent click caused a virus infiltration. It’s our mission to not only get rid of the problem, but also teach people how to stay safe in the future.

Anyone Can Be a Cybersecurity Warrior… It Just Takes Vigilance

The good news is that many of these attacks can’t get in unless users open the door. It’s like that old vampire legend where they can’t come in your home unless you invite them. And hackers try a number of shady ways to get that invitation into your system.

The most common ways a device can be compromised:

  • Opening an infected email attachment
  • Clicking on a bogus popup ad that requests you download something
  • Inserting an infected disc or thumb drive into your computer
  • Visiting malicious links sent by email, text, or social media
  • Pirating software, music, or movies
  • Infection from another computer on your network that’s compromised

Knowledge Is Power – What Are Hackers After?

Not all cyber criminals are created equal, some may be looking for glory in the world of computer worms and viruses, but many are looking for money like most criminals. Once your system is compromised, they can steal credit card and bank account login information, get enough details on you and your family for identity theft, or plant a script that controls and records your device’s camera. Scary stuff!

But again, they need a way to get in. So learning these six simple tips to keep yourself safe can mean the difference between being a victim or sleeping easier at night.

Do These 6 Simple Things to Be a Cybersecurity Warrior

Cyber crime isn’t going anywhere and actually, it just keeps growing. Not even your smart phone or tablet are safe. According to DMR, mobile cyber attacks increased 40% last year. Approximately 51% of adults in the U.S. suffered some type of tech security incident between Dec 1, 2015 and Dec 1, 2016.

Don’t Be a Cyber Attack Statistic!

Here are some of the simple techniques that our Cybersecurity Team at GEFNET teach our clients. These may seem easy, and they are, but they’re also very effective.

1. Stop Before You Click

It’s been a long day and you’re just trying to get through your inbox before dinner. You see an email that might be from your child’s school, but the logo doesn’t look quite right. Despite your reservations, you click the embedded link. You just got a virus.

BEFORE you click a link, stop and examine it. Hover over it with the cursor (but don’t click) to see the real URL address. The text of the link might say, but when you hover over it, it may reveal itself as

Becoming ultra suspicious of links and checking them out before you click can save from an unwanted virus or malware intrusion.

2. Get a Good Antivirus Software and Keep it Updated

While that free antivirus popup that promises all kinds of security may look enticing, do your homework before you install an antivirus software. Don’t just trust an advertisement, go to the website yourself by typing in the URL, and read reviews.

It’s also important to keep your antivirus software updated regularly so you’re protected from the latest threats. Most have a setting to do this automatically. (If you need a recommendation, just ask our Geeks!)

3. Be Aware of and Manage Your Privacy Settings

Most of us don’t think twice before downloading a new app. But what type of data is that app collecting from you? Is it reading your contacts list or tracking your every move? has a great resource you can use with shortcuts to view or change privacy settings on a variety of apps, e-commerce platforms, browsers, and search engines. Controlling who has access to your data keeps your information safer should that company be the victim of a hack.

4. Be Smart About Your Passwords

Did you know that one of the most common passwords is “123456”? Cyber criminals do! In an age where you have to have to juggle tons of passwords just to get through the day in cyberspace, it’s easy to think there’s no harm in using something easy to remember.

Unfortunately, easy to remember is easy to guess for a hacker. Do yourself a favor and beef up your password security and change them regularly. Something as simple as adding a special character and a mixture of upper and lower case letters can increase the security of your password significantly.

5. Don’t Use Free Wi-Fi

It’s hard not to want to take advantage of that free Wi-Fi at the airport, but when you do, you’re connecting your device to the unknown. Criminals often use free Wi-Fi spots to scope out victims and gain access to their device.

If you are in a pinch and desperately need to use it, at the very least, never type in one of your passwords or use a mobile banking app when you’re connected to a free Wi-Fi service.

6. Have a Good Backup System

If you do end up with a virus or malware intrusion, having a clean backup of your system before the intrusion can protect you against data loss and make it easier to restore your files. There are multiple options you can choose for both physical drive backup and cloud backups.

Need a Virus Check or Security Advice?

Our expert Tech Geeks are at your service if you need us! We can check your system to ensure there are no “sleeper viruses” lurking around and help you with a backup plan or antivirus software. Just give us a call at 217-960-GeeK (4335).

2 Replies to “Top 6 Simple Solutions for Staying Safe Online”

    1. As long as it’s working for you and you are pleased with it that’s what matters. Personally, I don’t recommend using the Top #1/#2 antivirus software there are a ton of resources that both McAfee and Norton use they have so many processes going on in the background that it can have a serious impact on the computer/device performance. Not to mention when it comes to the virus/malware creators who do you think they have in mind when they are creating these malicious viruses/malware… They are creating to beat #1 and #2. and they are notorious for getting one-upped by the latest zero-day attack because if they don’t have the definitions they can’t block/fight it. that’s my thoughts on it.


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