What are Cyber Threats? How to Secure your Computer against Cyber Threats?

Want to secure your computer against cyber threats? I will show you how to do just that in this post.

It will please you to know that my old Toshiba laptop was attacked before (about 6 years ago) by some memory-increasing virus. Then, I had to format my PC and lost some important files and data. Also, there was no backup. But that won’t happen again!

Before we proceed, let me show you what cyber threats really are.

What are Cyber Threats?

Cyber threats are possible dangers which exploit system vulnerability in order to destroy data or the information system. Also, we can define cyber threats as services or connections that cause damages to networks, computers, and more.

Besides that, the intention of cyber threats varies across different levels. For instance, students, home PC users, business users, etc. may experience different form of cyber threats based on their computer usage.

Types of Cyber Threats

The following are different types of cyber threats:

  1. Computer virus

It is well known that normal programs on a computer function well without causing harm to the system resources. Computer virus on the other hand, is a malicious code capable of replicating itself to another program or PC in order to damage the PC.

In addition, there are more than 20 types of computer virus as well which can cause series of harm to your computer. Due to its replicative nature, computer virus is one of the most common cyber threats.

  1. Malware

Malware is the term for “malicious software” which are computer programs designed to cause malicious damage to computers – without the users’ knowledge. Other cyber threats that can be classified as malware includes Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs), ransomware, adware, spyware, keylogger, and Rootkits.

  1. DOS and DDOS attack

Denial of Service (DOS) attack occurs from a single source targeting the victim’s resources in order to make it (temporarily) unavailable. Distributed Denial of Service (DOS) attack on the other hand, originates from multiple sources. Sites or services such as social network, banks, government sites, etc. are common targets for this kind of cyber threat.

  1. Phishing

secure against phishingCybercriminals utilizes several techniques to acquire sensitive information such as login details, credit card details, etc. by disguising as a genuine entity. For instance, fraudsters clone bank internet webpages, social network login pages, payment gateways, etc in order to collect sensitive information from the user.

  1. SQL injection

SQL injection is a kind of attack which targets dynamic websites that utilizes SQL database. The attacker may use series of data code insertion in order to manipulate/access the backend (i.e. the database). Moreover, dynamic websites are prone to this kind of threat.

  1. Trojan horse

In cyber security, Trojan horse is not the wooden horse statue by the Greeks but rather a “disguising computer program”. Trojan horses can be acquired from seemingly genuine sources but in the background, they perform innocuous activity bringing heavy damages to your computer and data.

  1. Man-in-the-middle attack

Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack enables the perpetrator to eavesdrop on electronic communication between the two targets. In addition, the attacker might either intercept communications actively or passively.

In the active interception scenario, the attacker may modify the message sent from source A to B or send a message to source B while disguising as source A. While in the passive interception scenario, the attacker might just eavesdrop on the communication between the targets. Popular MITM attacks include HTTPS spoofing, DNS spoofing, Wi-Fi hijacking, IP spoofing, etc.

Common Sources of Cyber Threats

Cyber threats emanates from the following sources:

  • Malware authors

Malware authors bent on causing damages to other information systems may design destructive viruses for that purpose.

  • Bot-network Operators

For financial gains, botnet operators provide cyber attackers or perpetrators with their bot-network to facilitate cyber-attacks.

  • Nations

Some nations may engage in cyber war in order to show off their cybersecurity prowess.

  • Terrorists/Activists

Some infamous terrorist organizations orchestrate several forms of cyber attacks in order to unleash violence on people.

  • Phishers

Many computer users have fallen victim to fraudsters who manipulate them into giving up their money or sensitive information – while posing as genuine sources.

  • Insiders

Any individual within an organization may knowingly or accidentally expose the organization’s information system to cyber threats.

  • Criminal Groups

There are organized criminal groups with sophisticated technologies who are hell-bent on perpetrating different forms of cybercrimes on the internet. Such cybercrimes include spamming, scamming, pornography distribution, human trafficking, stalking, online libel, and more.

Best practices to secure your Computer against Cyber Threats

Have you encountered any cybersecurity threat recently?

The number of increasing cyber threats every day is alarming. However, I will show you some of the best practices to secure your computer which you can implement today.

  1. Use a strong Antivirus program and anti-malware solution

Antivirus program is designed to detect and neutralize cyber threats on your computer. You can install strong Antivirus programs such as Kaspersky, Avast, Heimdal Security, Bullguard, and more.

In addition, you can boost your computer security by making use of anti-malware solution such as Malwarebytes. With these implementations, you can keep your computer secure against emerging cyber threats.

  1. Update your Operating System and software applications

OS companies such as Apple and Windows constantly releases updates which contains patches that can prevent latest security threats. If you are using an outdated OS, your computer might be vulnerable against impending threats from the internet.

In order to update your Operating System in Windows, do this:

  • Go to Start
  • Type Windows update in the search box and click on it.
  • Next, click on search for latest updates and then install the updates
  • Restart your PC after that.

Alternatively, you can also update your third-party software applications on your PC to the latest version. Besides, latest software versions are known to be devoid of issues. Make use of software updater programs such as GlarySoft Software Updater, IObit Software Updater, Driver Easy, and more.

  1. Enable firewall

Firewall protects your computer against unauthorized connections from gaining access or control. Popular Operating Systems such as Windows, Mac OS, Linux, etc comes with built-in firewall. For instance, Windows OS comes with Windows Firewall.

If your built-in firewall is not active, you need to enable it for additional protection. For Windows users, go to Start > Windows Firewall > Enable Firewall.

Alternatively, some antivirus programs incorporate ‘Firewall’ software which may require activation or premium subscription. You can also utilize any third-party firewall software such as ZoneAlarm, Glasswire, SyGate Personal Firewall, PeerBlock, etc.

  1. Use disk encryption tools

Disk encryption software allows you to encrypt all (or part) of your storage disk thereby preventing your information from being accessed by unauthorized users. Windows OS comes with ‘Bitlocker’ disk encryption tool which requires activation to encrypt your disk drive.

Also, you can utilize free or paid disk encryption tools such as VeraCrypt, FileVault 2, WinEncrypt, idoo File Encryption, etc.

  1. Make use of VPN

If you connect to public Wi-Fi every now and then, you might be prone to MITM cyber threat. The best way to protect your online identity and ensure privacy is to utilize a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

Some VPN service providers such as NordVPN, SaferVPN, PureVPN, ZenMate, etc. are ideal solutions to anonymize your online identity.

  1. Use Standard User Account for your online activity

Another practice to keep your computer safe and secure is to use a standard account. If you’re using a single administrator account on your PC for software installation, online browsing, etc, then you may have a lot to use incase your computer is hijacked.

Therefore, it is highly recommended that you create a standard account (local account) for online browsing activity. Follow through this guide to do this.

  1. Use secure web browsers

Some popular web browsers over the years have been faced with ‘privacy controversies’. Not only that, some browser add-ons downloaded from official web browser’ repositories have been discovered later to be malware or even PUPs. While it is recommended to install your antivirus add-on within your web browser, you can also make use of secure web browsers.

Epic browser, Tor, Dooble, among others have been termed as secure web browsers due to their privacy features.

  1. Practice good password management

Password is a secret phrase that is used to gain access to a system or service. Many computer users make use of the same password over and over again. What this implies is that – once your password is compromised on a platform, then all your accounts on other platforms can be compromised.

On the other hand, here are good password management tips for you:

  • Make use of password management services such as KeePass, LastPass, Dashlane, RoboForm, etc.
  • Use strong password generator.
  • Make use of long passwords with a strong mix of characters (at least 18 characters or more). Remember, you don’t have to cram them.
  • Don’t share your password online or any other platform. I have come across website cPanel logins on public forums. Don’t do it!
  • Update your passwords at least once every 90 days.
  1. Back up your files

You need to back up your personal files periodically to avoid data loss in case of computer crash. You can utilize cloud storage services or external hard drive (or USB drives) to back up your sensitive files.

  1. Beware of the websites you visit

Avoid visiting pornographic or dodgy websites. Besides, many porn websites or free download sites are virtual nests for all kinds of cyber threats. You don’t want to download that free software from a porn website; other computer users who have done so downloaded computer viruses. Make use of website filtering tool such as NetNanny, SafeSurf, Netsanity, etc to filter out bad websites from your web browser.

Conclusion

Finally, connecting your computer to the internet is a risk. However, you should not be disconnected from the internet due to the fear of cyber threats.

By applying the best practices against cyber threats we enumerated in this guide, you are setting up a secure blitz against myriads of threats.

Share your cybersecurity issues with us by commenting below.

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