23rd Apr2018

Often Overlooked: Why Even Casual Users of the Internet Need to be Aware of Data Security

by James Smith

When many of us use the internet, we tend to underestimate the number of security risks to which we are exposed. Unfortunately, the reality of internet security is rarely straightforward. Just because everything seems to be running fine does not mean that there isn’t anything lurking beneath the surface, and these attacks often seem to occur at the least convenient time. Here we’ll go over a few useful tips that every casual user and beyond needs to keep in mind to better protect themselves now and in the future.

Protect Your Computer

The first step in protecting yourself from threats to your internet security is to protect your computer or device. This is going to be the launching pad from which a lot of personal, private, and business information is shared, so making sure it is secure is an absolute must. There are two main things which we are going to fight here – viruses and malware.

"Crackers" (CC BY 2.0) by elhombredenegro

“Crackers” (CC BY 2.0) by elhombredenegro

While these both can fall under the same umbrella when it comes to possible harm, the two act in distinctly different ways, with malware often not being as overtly malicious as viruses but still harming your system’s overall performance and the user experience. Your best bet here is to start with a decent anti-virus and anti-malware program, or separate software for each. There are many free options here, and they tend to do quite well, though professionals and businesses might want to invest in one of the paid services, as these often come with faster response time, better customer service, and more robust levels of protection than their free counterparts.

Protect Your Data

Once your computer or other main device is safe you need to take consideration of the data itself. Some users find themselves using standard cloud storage, though this is more commonly utilised by companies and groups which rely on easily accessible outside storage. Lower quality online services themselves can be open to attack, so when possible interested users should attempt to use one of the more reputable online services, though even large brands have had public breaches and frequently require proper setup and configuration. Data security basics for products and brands you should trust with your data include making sure you add an extra layer of advanced safety measures such as integrated machine learning, automatic vulnerability finders, and improved random protection, to better affect the safety of their userbase. They’ll also need to comply with many online regulations, which might be confusing to those not invested in developments of online law.
This is especially important if you as a user deal with the personal or payment information of others, for the others’ safety as well as their own. Remember that the internet is a two-way street, and both ends need to be protected for any real safety to be ensured.

"Secure Cloud Computing" (CC BY 2.0) by FutUndBeidl

“Secure Cloud Computing” (CC BY 2.0) by FutUndBeidl

Protect Yourself

Protecting against online threats is an ongoing battle. You’re not just connected to your own computer but rather exposed to outside networks. This is not a case where users are simply able to install a single program and forget about it, as true safety requires installing regular OS and software updates, scheduled scans and regular attention. A slip-up here can cost both you and anyone you deal with dearly, and can, in the worst instances, even lead to you being liable for damages to others. Protect yourself, protect your devices and your data, and you can work or play without this constant threat in the back of your mind.

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