When you’re watching a movie and you see the typical computer screen filled with green coding (you know the type, rows of 1s and 0s) you might get the impression that IT experts are magicians that work wonders with a mouse and a keyboard. Theirs is a difficult professions, but they are also humans that suffer from the same human errors and doubts as the rest of us.
At Google they are well aware of this and for this reason they have carried out an investigation that tries to shed light on the security measures that IT professionals follow, and that for the rest of us seem impossible to imitate.
The conclusion they reached leaves us all in a bad light – what seems difficult really isn’t that complex at all. The majority of the steps taken by IT professionals to protect themselves from digital threats are based on pure common sense and are easy enough for the average use to put into practice.
The people behind the study compared the precautions taken by experts and those taken by regular users and discovered that the latter are skipping some of the basic steps. Here are the main ones.
5 security measures that experts follow (and so should you!)
1. Always stay updated
Make sure you have the latest version of software installed on your operating system and the programs that you use. This is the same for both computers and mobile devices. The manufacturers usually correct vulnerabilities as soon as they realize them, so it’s up to you to make sure you install the latest version. You can always allow for automatic updates if you want to.
2. Strong and unique passwords
Although passwords are on the verge of extinction, they are still the main way to protect your devices. You should make sure to follow these basic guidelines for choosing passwords which include a different one for each service, ones that are hard to guess, and ones that contain a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols.
3. Two steps are always better than one
If you choose a secure password, you’re on the right path, but that still isn’t enough. The experts recommend activating the two-step verification process whenever possible (in Gmail or Facebook, for example). This way, if anyone tries to access your account then the service will ask for a code which is only sent to your mobile. This should be out of bounds for a cybercriminal.
4. Surf carefully online
There are very few things that can’t be found on the Internet. Every day you can find something new while surfing online, but you need to be careful where you click. Not all websites are safe and some hide nasty surprises. If your browser says that something’s not right, then pay attention to its warning. Unless it’s a website that is totally secure, a warning that the website isn’t following correct security protocol should be enough for.
5. An antivirus is essential
Although some doubt its effectiveness, what’s certain is that an antivirus software with firewall is the best barrier against attacks. Surfing the web without an updated or reliable protection is an unnecessary risk that the experts at Google aren’t prepared to take. So why do some users continue putting themselves at risk?
If some of these measures don’t form part of your routine, then you should adopt them immediately. Not only because the experts consider them common sense, but because, above all, they are very easy to adopt and can save you a lot of problems.