Protecting data and private files on a PC can be the most frustrating thing a normal user come across. Every day there are more security vulnerabilities and security threats created and discovered. There are entire companies whose sole purpose is to track and report on security threats online. What can a simple, everyday user do to protect their important files?
Don't worry! The first step to protecting your PC files is understanding the threats arrayed against you and taking precautions to limit access and damage. The following sections are two of the most prevalent threats to everyday PC use.
One of the most common threats to PC security is called phishing. This threat is the easiest to protect against while also being the easiest to accidental run across.
Phishing websites are designed to replicate common secured sites on the web like banks and social networking sites. The offending site is based off of a URL that mimics the actual URL of the copied site, but misspelled or hidden with creative spelling techniques. Phishing sites pop up when a normal URL is mistyped manually or they can be received in a bogus email designed to look official and including links to the phishing site.
The best way to protect yourself from a phishing site is to confirm URL spelling and address form. The name can be spelled wrong, there could be an extra "." in a place that should not exist, and the easiest to spot will be the security status of the encryption (HTTPS).
Most of today's popular browsers are built with anti-phishing options and should protect users from basic and common threats. However, if a link or email looks questionable it is better to be safe than sorry.
The most popular threat to PC security comes from email. Hackers and thieves love to use email to gain access to secure information.
Don’t worry too much though, just reading an email from a questionable source will not infect your PC in most cases. The damage is done when attachments are opened and unknown links are clicked. The first rule of protecting yourself from malicious email is to never click a link in a questionable email and never open an attachment that has not been scanned for viruses first.
Next, you have to be sure that senders of the email are valid. Hackers and other people out for no-good can easily spoof a return address. Be wary. Look at the information included in the email and take note of spelling, grammar, and poor punctuation. This is not to say that all emails with poor grammar are trying to steal your passwords and bank accounts, but more often than not, if the email is full of mistakes then it is a bad one.