PC security has become an important topic of discussion in recent years. Considering the increasing number of cyber attacks, any computer user is at risk of dealing with a wide variety of security concerns, if not protecting their device correctly.
Whether it’s your personal computer or your office PC, adopting the right security practices can save you from multiple unpleasant scenarios. Using an unsecured Wi-Fi network, not having an antivirus program installed and generally, not paying attention to the websites you access regularly can lead to different types of digital-privacy risks.
In order to acknowledge the importance of optimal PC security, you should have a clear perspective of what none protected computers cause. The following aspects remain the most frequently encountered general risks you might be exposed to at the moment:
Login information interception
Let’s start with the most common issue and that is login information interception. When you haven’t secured your internet access network, or you don’t have a proper antivirus software tool installed, your login details are exposed to hacker attacks.
With your PC open and exposed, when you are entering a website that requires login credentials, third parties can intercept what you’re typing and save your information for their own malicious use. Fraudulently accessing your services is one of the scenarios that can happen here. Whether it’s email, online banking, or social media, hackers will easily get your login information through data transmitted in an unencrypted form.
Surveys show that 58% of public Wi-Fi users check their emails, and browse social media, while somewhere around 17% actually do their banking via unsecured networks. This is why the number of login info theft cases has increased over the last few years.
Sensitive information interception
While having your login credential intercepted might not seem like such an unresolvable issue, unsecured computers also face the risk of having more sensitive information stolen. Images, intellectual property, corporate data, instant messages, email content – the list of data files easily accessible by hackers through an unprotected computer is quite long.
Whatever type of data hackers can use for illicit actions will be stolen, if you are using an unsecured Wi-Fi network or if your Pc is exposed in general by lack of security programs. You can minimize the risks involved here by:
- Installing antivirus software
- not connecting to unreliable internet sources
- Encrypting important files and documents
Phishing – Identity theft
One of the most serious concerns PC users face is having their identity stolen through cyber attacks. Phishing is a common type of malicious activity used for fraudulent actions. The main purpose of phishing is identity theft – Stealing important personal formation, such as private ID, security passwords, bank cards, social and security data.
A phishing website looks exactly like a legitimate one – so a moment of negligence can lead to you having important information stolen. This attack method can be used via email as well. You could receive an email supposedly from a reliable financial institution, such as PayPal, resembling the real thing, which requests personal credentials. By inputting your data, you’re given your info away to hackers.
What can you do to prevent this scenario from happening?
- Use an advanced computer security system. An updated antivirus program will prevent you from entering malicious sites
- Don’t trust unsolicited messages
- Type your bank’s URLs, and don’t click on e-mail links directly
- Use an antiphishing toolbar – various great options are available.
Adware, also referred to as an ad-injecting software, is a common computer infection PC user deal with. Adware usually disguises as a regular program in order to trick you to install it, and then start throwing advertisements on your screen, typically within a web browser. It has the power of modifying your internet browser security settings, add more ads to websites, create ad popups, and replace good ads with junk advertisements.
Adware is used with the purpose of generating money from infected computers. Ads promoting other software can actually disguise this malicious program, so try to be careful what you click on when your surfing the internet. Download your needed software tools only from high-authority sites.
There are some clear signs that indicate you have adware installed on your device:
- Ads are showing up in places they shouldn’t
- Your browser’s homepage has changed, without you making the switch
- Improper display of web pages your browse regularly
- Your browser is populated by new toolbars, plugins or extensions
- Your web browser starts crashing frequently
With a virus on your computer, various issues can arise. Your PC crashes unexpectedly, you aren’t able to open certain files, your page loading time increases – these are only a few examples of problems computers infected by viruses deal with. None Protected Digital-Privacy is often linked to PC viruses, and only a good antimalware program can help you keep your device clean and virus-free.
Having your Updates turned off
The security of your computer can be easily compromised, if important updates are turned off. If someone hacks into your computer and turns off the automatic updating feature of your antivirus software, your PC will be exposed in the future to further malicious data theft attacks. While you might have a sense of protection knowing you’ve installed an antivirus on the device, with your updates turned off, you’re still exposed to high risks. You’re recommended to regularly check if you have the latest version of antivirus software installed.
Having your Bandwidth stolen
An unsecured Wi-Fi and an unprotected PC can also mean a potential Bandwidth theft. People signing onto your network without permission and consuming a portion of your available bandwidth will lead to you experiencing lag. Working on a slow computer is certainly an inconvenience, and this can happen just because you haven’t secured your network.
Hackers can engage in a wide range of illegal activities, while keeping their own credential protected by using your personal network. An unsecured device is easy to infiltrate by cyber attackers. A few examples of illegal usage scenarios would be:
- Unauthorized file downloads and transfers
- Virus dissemination
- Procuring illegal materials
All of these actions are regarded as serious crimes, and because they are pursued from your computer’s network, you will be the one potentially dealing with charges. Always keep PC and network security to optimal levels.
Infecting your friends’ computers
When a virus contracts your PC, the problem might extend itself to others’ computers as well. Besides affecting your own hardware, the virus can pass itself to your contact list via email, network links or USB flash drives. Just by not having virus protection installed or updated, you could infect multiple other computers. This is an issue that usually happens within enterprises, where PCs are more often connected to one another.
As you can see, there are a lot of serious concerns revolving around an unsecured computer. From getting viruses, having your login credentials stolen and infecting others’ computers to adware installation, the list of general risks to worry about is quite extensive, so try your best to adopt the right device defense methods. You have software, tools and protection methods available that can be easily accessed.