By Matthew Ragsdale, Frankenstein Computers

As the months go by and as we continue to work with COVID, more and more of us are finding that we’re using our personal computers to access work assets, or we are relying on technology that we’re not completely comfortable with. Many are not aware of the vast security problems that can arise from lack of knowledge and awareness, which the hackers of the community are betting on.

There are many ways you can protect yourself but today, I am going to go over some of the most critical ones that can really save you a lot of trouble.

1 – Password Complexity

The first seems obvious, but to many its often overlooked. Password complexity is something that is often ignored for the sake of convenience or repetition. We are used to passwords that we have used in the past, and many of us use the same password for pretty much everything. Unfortunately, we also in general have no idea when that password has become compromised and is no longer safe.

As a rule, try to use a combination of two words, numbers, and symbols to make your password complex enough to prevent it from easily being hacked. For example: Frankenstein2020-10Computers would be considered a very secure password in that it has a symbol (the -), numbers, two words and capitals. Many put numbers at the end of a password which is fine as the location is less important.

However, make sure you stay away from very simple passwords. P@ssw0rd for example might seem clever, but as a point of reference it has been found in over 54,000 breeches. Lets add a symbol then! That will help, right? P@ssw0rd! is still compromised with almost 1000 breeches.

If you are ever concerned about your password, give us a call and we can help you out with that and much more!

2 – Firewalls

Many businesses use the stock modem and router that internet providers such as Spectrum provide. These are far from secure in that because they’re so widely used, they’re also very well known and accessible to hackers who have long since worked out many ways to compromise them.

Your best solution is to get a router and use it with the modem provided by your provider. Any off the shelf router is better than none, but for real security we would recommend Cisco or SonicWall. If you need help finding the right one for you ,let us know! We are experts in finding the perfect fit for you.

3 – Use Two-Factor Authentication with Email

Many breeches are happening with online webmail accounts. Those of you who are still using POP or aren’t affiliated with a major provider such as Microsoft 365 or Google, then you are likely at risk. If your provider offers two-factor authentication then make sure you enable it. Yes, it’s annoying at times and it can slow down your access, but trust us when we say it will slow down a hacker infinitely more. This is really the only way to ensure true security with online accounts.

4 – Updates and Patches

We all scowl when Microsoft pushes a new update and our computer tells us it’s pending and please restart. As much as it interrupts our daily work it’s important to keep up to date with them however. If you get an update notification, it is often best to just let it install. Yes, it can break things but the risk is worth the reward.

Just this month, over 16 vulnerabilities were fixed that could give a hacker access to your computer if they were to take advantage of them. If you have not been up to date, then you can be easily hacked if they were to use any of these methods.

Always run updates. And not just Microsoft – but any product you use as well.

In summary, there are many vulnerabilities out there but everyone can take an extra step to ensure that their company, as well as themselves are safe and doing everything they can to increase security. It is always better to proactively address the issue, then try to clean things up when things go bad.

Frankenstein Computers has been taking care of our happy clients since 1999. We specialize in IT Support, IT Service, MAC repair, PC Repair, Virus Removal, and much more. Give us a call for remote support or drop in to drop off.