Web designers, like all other computer users, have to get good at some basic computer habits. These include saving, back-ups, clean operating software, antivirus, and updating software. Even if you rely on cloud services, you still have to keep, organize, and maintain professional work on your computer. After all, you may lose your Internet connection in the middle of a project, or the cloud service may be interrupted.
Here are 9 things you should do to keep your valuable data safe both online and offline:
1. Use a firewall
As the name implies, this is a barrier. In this case, it’s a barrier between malware online and your computer. A firewall can be either hardware or software. A router is an example of a hardware firewall which prevents external threats from a random network getting to your computer. A firewall interfaces between your computer and the Internet, working like a filter. It may permit certain data but not allow other data to cross. It may, for example, allow you to check emails, but not allow you to do peer-to-peer file sharing.
2. Use an Antivirus
A virus is a malignant computer program that can destroy your computer or damage your data. Mac computers were once well known for offering excellent anti-virus protection, but now sophisticated viruses can even attack Macs. Unfortunately, many Mac users still believe that only Window operating systems are vulnerable. This is a dangerous myth. Mac users need antivirus protection just the same as any other OS users.
Since there are always new viruses, it’s essential that you keep your virus definitions updated. You can do this by activating the automatic updating feature in your scanning software.
3. Use spyware
Viruses get the most attention because they wreck the most havoc. But there is another type of malware that you should guard against as well–spyware. This software collects information on what you do with your computer.
Spyware may be benign, only tracking your surfing behavior to spy on your buying behavior.
But it can also be malicious, tracking your account logins. It will help thieves steal from your financial accounts online.
Spyware can also be aggressive. It can hijack your computer use and redirect your browser to a website to sell you on something based on its observation of your buyer behavior.
4. Update your software
Developers are constantly updating software. Consequently, you may not have the latest version. This creates a vulnerability because a design flaw in the software could be vulnerable to malicious software. Although the updated version may have corrected for this bug, if you don’t have the latest version, this doesn’t help you.
5. Stay educated on malware
You may have little time to do any extra studying on Internet safety. But this makes you vulnerable to all kinds of scams online. Phishing emails, for example, are becoming more more sophisticated. This is the devious art of sending out fake emails. These emails aim to persuade people to click on a link and log into an account. For instance, one common scam is to ask you to fix a problem in your Paypal account, and a convenient link directs you to Paypal. When you click on the link, keylogging software might keep track of your username and password. Later, someone will help themselves to money in your account.
6. Secure your networks
When you leave your Wi-Fi connection open, you have not secured your mobile connection or your home network. Anyone with a Wi-Fi enabled device can use your open Wi-Fi. Sometimes, they people may just want to get away with not paying for their own Internet Service. Sometimes, your connection is for something more devious like hacking into a department store. When authorities trace back the suspect, the Wi-Fi connection leads back to you.
7. Encrypt sensitive data
If you are sending sensitive information online, you may want to encrypt it. Encryption uses a mathematical process to make data unreadable when transmitted online. If someone intercepts your message, they can’t read it because they don’t have the right password or passphrase to decode it.
8. Back up your data
Backing up is taking an image of your hard disk. It gives a complete copy which can be restored on an empty hard drive if your hard drive should fail.
9. Be responsible
You should take total responsibility for computer’s safety even if your network has an administrator. You should practice safe surfing and establish safe habits on your local hard drive because a network administrator can’t keep track of all user behavior all the time.