#263Tech: Computer Security, How to Counter Viruses, Hackers, and Thieves

Modern day robbers no-longer need a gun but a computer and internet connection and a heist is done. The paradigm shift brought by disruptive technologies has made cyber-security a growing concern not only in Zimbabwe but throughout world.

In such a dangerous and highly risky environment, how do individuals and corporate protect themselves against the dark forces now operating in the Cyber Space?

People often think of computer security as something technical and complicated. It can be complicated but the most important stuff is actually very simple. Here are the basic important things you should do to make yourself safer online.

Run Malwarebytes Alongside Your Antivirus for Maximum Protection

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Running antivirus is still very important, but these days the really active threats are from spyware, adware, crapware, and the worst of all: ransomware. That’s where Malwarebytes comes in.Malwarebytes not only protects your computer from malware, but does a better job of cleaning up an infected computer than anything else on the market.

And it doesn’t just work on PCs — they have a Mac version too.And to protect your browser against zero-day exploits, Malwarebytes also includes Anti-Exploit and Anti-Ransomware features, which can stop drive-by attacks cold. And best of all, you can run Malwarebytes alongside your existing antivirus to keep yourself fully protected.

Enable Automatic Updates

All the software we use every day is likely riddled with security issues. These security issues are constantly being found—whether we’re talking about Windows, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, the Adobe Flash plugin, Adobe’s PDF Reader, Microsoft Office—the list goes on and on.

These days, a lot of operating systems and programs come with automatic updates to close these security holes. No longer do you need to click a button or download a file to update your software; it’ll update itself in the background without any input from you.

Some people like to turn this off for one reason or another. Maybe you don’t like that Windows restarts after installing an update, or maybe you just don’t like change. But from a security perspective, you should always leave automatic updates on.

 If you have turned off automatic updates previously, for any of your software, go turn them on right now, and then come back to this. Good job.

Windows Update Settings

Keeping your computer up-to-date is the number one way to keep it safe against online threats. Microsoft provides updates for Windows and associated Microsoft products (Defender, Office) on the second Tuesday of each month. Apple doesn’t have a regimented schedule, but they also regularly provide updates. These updates not only fix bugs, but they patch security holes. So the only way to protect yourself against the latest known vulnerabilities is by updating. Malicious attackers are always looking for unpatched systems they can attack, and automatic updates keeps you off the list of low hanging fruit.

Use Antivirus and Anti-Malware

It seems like every couple of years an article will come out saying one antivirus is the absolute best. Three more will follow saying three others outperformed the first. On top of these, some security expert will write an article saying antivirus is no longer relevant and you’re dumb if you use it.

Let’s set the record straight: you should be running antivirus, even if you’re careful on the web. Which one? It’s up to you though when it comes to free, simple, and good, there’s nothing wrong with using Windows Defender.

It’s built in to Windows, it updates automatically with the Windows Update utility, it has no discernible impact on performance, and it’s free. To be effective, an antivirus application need to integrate with the operating system on a very deep level. Who better to know the internals of Windows than the people who built it? Plus, it won’t try to sell you other products or inject other features you don’t need, like some antivirus programs do.

If you spend time on the shadier corners of the internet, you may want something a bit stronger, like Avira or Kaspersky, but for most home users, Windows Defender should be fine.

However, in addition to antivirus, we also recommend using Malwarebytes alongside your antivirus. Just like your belt can use a good pair of suspenders to give it a little help, applications like Malwarebytes can provide extra protection against malicious software that traditional antivirus products may not identify. Malicious programs like browser re-directors and advertisement injectors behave exactly like some known legitimate network filters. They’re not technically viruses, but you definitely don’t want them. Anti-malware applications can help you with those. Malwarebytes is $40 per year, but you can get some of its features for free

By Cisco Eng. Shingie Lev Muringi Cell: 0775 380 652            Email: shingie@263chat.com

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