Irvine, CA based Hard Drive Recovery Associates (HDRA) has published a new blog post regarding internet safety on their website. The post, Being on the Safe Side of Being Online, explores a subject many will find useful in the present climate as the COVID-19 pandemic leads them to spend more time on their electronic devices, especially their phones and computers. While the internet may not seem as dangerous as going outside in such circumstances, HDRA hopes that their article will help their community learn of the real risks they face online and how they may keep themselves from harm.
The world wide web, “has opened us to a whole new dimension of information we had no access to before,” says the post. “But then, just like any other place that’s worth exploring, there may be dangers that lurk on the sides that, if you fall victim to, will damage your entire experience. So, you need to be aware of these hazards and keep yourself safe when surfing online. What’s great is that you don’t really need to be a computer science genius to know how to amply protect yourself when exploring the internet. Minimize your risk by taking note of these tips to enjoy a safer web experience.”
The tips in question begin with a process that many will take little note of since modern programs tend to handle this aspect of security by themselves: updating. These “silent upgrades,” as the article refers to them, play an important role in maintaining a device’s security and teaching it to stay vigilant against emerging digital threats. As such, the longer a program goes without receiving an update, the more likely it is that the system as a whole will be compromised at some point in the future. This is true of the Operating System (OS), its antivirus utility and even its miscellaneous applications.
Software developers prefer to have their updates installed automatically for a variety of reasons. On one hand, this allows them to offer better service and eliminate bugs or glitches that were present in older versions of their programs. However, one crucial aspect of such updates is that they can also be (and often are) used to patch vulnerabilities in the program in question. Given the nature of software development and the ever-rising number of threats online, HDRA states that it is absolutely vital for users to keep their programs as up to date as possible. Fortunately, all they have to do is allow each of these programs to update themselves automatically. Modern applications are also far better at doing this without bothering the user or intruding on their experience.
Another step that internet explorers can take to protect themselves is activate two-step verification (also known as 2 Factor Authentication on Macs) on all their accounts. This adds a much more effective layer of security to a user’s online accounts as it forces any party trying to log in through an unknown device to provide two “factors” of evidence that they are the actual owner of the account in question. One factor involves what the user should know: their password or other login details, for instance. The other factor has to be an independent type of verification, such as a fingerprint scan, a text message with a unique code sent to a number associated with the account and so on.
The article also cautions users against relying on public Wi-Fi. “When you access public Wi-Fi,” HDRA says, “take note that a lot of other users can, too. This means that you will have to be careful of what you are sharing and what websites you go to, as other people may see it. You may consider installing VPN software if you’re fond of connecting to public Wi-Fi.” Those who use public Wi-Fi are safer today than they may have been just over a decade ago due to the widespread adoption of better internet security protocols, but the company advises users not to take the risk if they can avoid it. This is particularly true when logging into accounts of critical importance, such as those that contain bank details and other financial information.
The full article explores other aspects of internet safety, such as end-to-end encryption, in greater detail, and it can be freely read on the Hard Drive Recovery Associates’ website. The company specializes in data recovery and is known for their ability to pull data from damaged computers and other devices. Interested parties may contact Jack Edwards of Hard Drive Recovery Associates for further details.