Good practices for using computing devices

Cybersecurity Best Practices

Yesterday we commented means to protect ourselves from our computer attacks and We still had to list good practices for the use of electronic devices.  The time has come to fulfill the promise.

We have said it before, but it is always good to repeat it.  A network is only as strong as the weakest of its nodes. It is everyone's responsibility to contribute to general security.

Good practices for the use of electronic devices

Andrew Grove, the late Intel executive, wrote perhaps the only book whose title justifies the price. Only the paranoid survive. Of course, without exaggeration, a reasonable degree of paranoia is healthy since any of us can be a victim of a computer attack because:

  1. We live in an interconnected world and any of us can be the access point to more important goals.
  2. Cybercriminals often "go fishing". They have no defined objectives and they get in wherever they can.

Some factors taken advantage of by computer criminals are:

  1. Exponential increase in connected devices and the networks to which they connect. Some of them, such as wireless ones in cafes or means of transportation, do not include adequate protection measures.
  2. Lack of computer culture: The concept of "digital native" is false. New generations may find it easier to use programs and devices, but they do not have the knowledge about the precautions that need to be taken. The same can be said of those who learned to use them as adults.
  3. Outdated software: The update procedure for many devices is usually slow and annoying, which is why many people leave it for later.
  4. Unsafe mobile devices: The cheapest mobile models (And some of the most expensive) stop receiving security updates (If they ever received them)
  5. Unsecured cloud services: If security settings are not adjusted, it is very easy for cybercriminals to access cloud services such as storage and webmail.

What we can do to protect ourselves

The good news is that, although cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated, there are some steps we can take to make things more difficult for them. Some of them are:

  1. Update frequently:  Pay attention to the notices about the availability of updates and if the operating system allows it, activate automatic updates. If you use third-party applications, subscribe to their newsletter to be aware of new versions.
  2. Find trusted sources: As long as you can install applications from official stores or repositories.
  3. Confirm sender: Before doing what an email, text message or WhatsApp tells you, verify that it was actually sent by whoever claims to have done it.
  4. Do not click on any link:  Before clicking on a link, no matter how tempting and innocent the proposal may be, make sure you know where it redirects. An easy way to check is to copy the link and paste it to your clipboard.
  5. Use strong passwords and store in a safe place: The security of a password is inversely proportional to its difficulty in remembering it, so it is advisable to save them somewhere. Preferably not in plain text on the desktop.
  6. Do not save sensitive data on the primary device: Your phone is not a permanent storage medium and you should not store sensitive information on your computer's drive either. It is best to do it on an external drive, pendrive or memory card, if possible using some encryption method. Or, in the worst case in the cloud. Always leave the external storage device unplugged when you are not using it.
  7. Have copies of the data: And make copies and copies of copies.
  8. Keep an eye on your devices: And if possible, don't lend them.
  9. Do not use public networks:  As we already said, public networks do not usually implement security measures. Better buy a good mobile data plan.
  10. Install and frequently use an antivirus: Yes, also on Linux

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