Top 5 Computer Security Tips for SME Businesses in Northern Ireland

James Brennan Precept IT

James Brennan Helpdesk Engineer

cyber-securityIn the news most days, there is a story of a data breach or IT security incident, so we asked one of our IT Helpdesk Engineers in Precept’s Belfast Office, James Brennan for some tips we could share. Below are some tips to keep your computer safe. These tips can protect your computer from viruses and your personal information.

1. Install an antivirus program.
Make sure to keep it up to date. Thousands of new viruses are created daily, so it is extremely important to make sure your antivirus software is up to date with the latest virus definitions. There are plenty of reputable antivirus products to choose from, and not all of them require a membership. Do some research and select the product which works best for you and your budget.

2. Use strong passwords.
Use for all of your online accounts, and make sure to change them up every now and then. Updating passwords can be a hassle, but that inconvenience pales in comparison to the headaches you’ll face if your personal information becomes compromised. Try mixing in special characters and numbers in place of certain letters, and always write down your password(s) for future reference.

3. Use a modern, reputable internet browser.
Older browsers often lack updated security features intended to keep your information safe while online. Just because your computer came with a specific browser built in doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best one. Look into using Google Chrome, Safari, or Firefox in lieu of the factory-installed browser. If you do not wish to install a new browser, inspect the settings within your existing browser to make sure that it is at least running the latest version.

4. Be leery of buttons & links.
Websites and emails can sometimes contain malicious buttons or links intended to lure you into a security trap. In general, internet browsers require some sort of user interaction such as clicking a button or a link before they can download a file to your computer or device. If you are visiting a website littered with “Click Here” buttons or an overabundance of advertisements, use extreme caution before clicking on anything. Some sites will even attempt to emulate system notifications claiming that your computer or device has been infected with some sort of virus, and that they “happen” to have the solution needed to fix it. If this happens to you, DO NOT click on the “exit” icon within the notification window , but rather close out the browser tab entirely, and scan your computer or device using your installed antivirus software.

5. Pay attention to warnings.
Pay attention to any warnings your browser gives you regarding a website’s Security Certificates. These “SSL” certificates encrypt the information sent between your browser and the server, helping to ensure that your information is being protected while in transit. It is a good idea to avoid entering sensitive information on a website unless the address starts with https:// instead of http://. Most browsers will have a visual indicator such as lock icon, or a green checkmark in the address bar, indicating a secured connection.