How You Can Improve Your Cybersecurity for Free

You are always a target  for hackers (be prepared)

Always understand that your computer, phones or private information can be hacked. Take precautions in whatever you do in this regard. Encrypt, use PIN or password to protect your sensitive data.

Use antivirus and other security software packages.

On your computer devices, always endeavor to install and use antivirus and similar security packages. In some cases, you can install them for free. For instance Windows based PCs come with a free but very powerful security software called Windows Security. Most high end android phones come with free premium antivirus and encryption software.

Encrypt sensitive data

Always encrypt sensitive data. Encryption protects your data against unauthorised access. Do not transmit sensitive information except it is encrypted.

Use HTTPS when working with sensitive information on a website.

Never transmit sensitive information unless on a website except it is using SSL/TLS encryption, and the page loads with HTTPS, not HTTP.

Back up often

Always back up sensitive data regularly so that in the event of a computer crash or hacker attack, you can recover without any troubles.

Do not share account login details with people

Do not share your login details of sensitive accounts with people you don’t trust. If possible, don’t share your login details with anyone.

Use proper authentication

Avoid use of complex hard to remember passwords.

Don’t overshare on social media

Use social media wisely, mind the type of information you post on sites such as facebook twitter, instagram and so on.

Use public/school/company Wi-Fi Safely

While public Wi-fi is good, do not use them to transfer sensitive data as these public networks are not as safe as private networks. Also these type networks are closely monitored.

How to Hard reset a Mac PC

Before you hard reset your Mac, it is wise to do the following.

  1. Back up important data
  2. Sign out of iTunes, messages and iCloud
  3. Unlock any app that is locked to your Mac

Doing the above steps will make it easy to logon to these platforms after resetting your device.

To hard reset do the following;

1.Restart your Mac and hold down the Command and R keys while it boots.

If you are asked to choose a language of your choice, choose English 

2. Run the Disk Utility.

3. In the Disk Utility screen, select your device’s main hard disk volume, then click on Unmount, then Erase.

4. Erase all contents of other disks in the device.

5.  Exit the Disk Utility by clicking Quit Disk Utility in the Disk Utility menu.

6. Click on Reinstall macOS and follow the steps to reinstall the operating system onto the primary disk.  

How to Hard Reset your iPhone

To hard reset your iPhone do the following:

1. Run the Settings app and choose General ,   Reset ,  Erase All Content and Settings.

2. If you’re asked for your Apple ID and Password to confirm the reset, enter them.

3. When you see a warning and a red Erase iPhone (or iPad) button, click on it.

HARD reset of Android phones

Your Modern Android Phone comes equipped with a robust Factory Reset feature. How to do a factory reset varies slightly for different manufacturers and operating systems / version. This write up will show you some examples of how to activate a hard reset on several popular devices. Other devices are likely to have similar options.

The menu structure of Samsung phones and Tablets are not the same. But if your device is running Android 9, below, is the procedure to hard reset it.

How to Hard Reset SAMSUNG GALAXY Phones and Tablets running on ANDROID 9

1. Run the Settings app.

2. From the main Settings menu, click on General Management.

3.     Click on Reset.

4. Click on Factory Data Reset.

5. Next Click Reset, Follow the instructions presented with the relevant warnings.

Hard Resetting Android Phones Running on Android 8 and below. 

The way to hard reset android phones varies based on phone manufacturer , android operating system and version. You can follow the steps below to reset your phone

1. Run the Settings app.

2. From the main settings menu, click on System.

3. In the System menu, click on Reset.

4. In the Reset menu, click on Factory Data Reset.

5. Confirm by clicking Reset, then Follow the instructions to continue.

How to Bank Online Safely

Online banking is unavoidable despite its security concerns. We are in the 21 century and online banking is smarter and easier banking. Here are some things you can do to improve your security as you bank online:

1. Use a strong password

 Your online banking password should be unique and strong. Commit to memory, that is remember it off hand. Do not store it in your phone or computer. If you like, you can write it on a piece of paper and store it in a safe place.

2. Choose a random PIN for your ATM   

It is good practice to choose a random Personal Identification Number (PIN) for your ATM card and/or phone identification. The PIN should not be related to any information that you know such as your name or other passwords. Do not write down your PIN or store it in your computer or phone. Do not tell your PIN to strangers, bank employees and people you don’t trust.

3. Log in to your online banking using trusted devices

Log in to your online banking using your phone or personal computer. Make sure the security features of your phone and computer are up to date. It is best to use your personal internet/ WiFi connecting. Avoid public WiFi networks because they can be unsafe.

4. Activate alerts for your bank account

Sign up for alerts from your bank. You should enable your bank account to be alerted by text message and/or email any time a transaction takes place with respect to your account.

5. Do not allow your browser store your online banking password

When you use your online banking password on a browser, your browser will normally request to store it for you. Reject the offer. This will safeguard against someone else easily logging in to your bank account. It is good practice to always enter the URL of your bank every time you visit the bank on the web.

Malware; What it is and How it Works.

Malware, also called malicious software, is a general term for software that is created for the purpose of causing damage on its users. The victims have no idea they are running it on their computer systems.

Malware includes computer Trojans, worms, viruses, scareware, ransomware, spyware, adware, cryptocurrency miners, and other programs intended to exploit computer resources for nefarious purposes.

Viruses

Computer viruses are programs that replicate their own code into computer systems when executed. They infect the computers  through  software. For instance, a virus can be included in the executable file of a microsoft word document. So that when the word document is executed or run, the virus is executed alongside without one knowing.viruses can also infect the boot sector of an harddrive.

Because virus can spread on their own, if not checked will eventually render the computer system unusable

Viruses need a host or software to spread, that is to say , once the infected software or program is not run. The virus cannot run as well.

Worms

Computer worms are pieces of malicious  programs  that can propagate themselves without a host.they often attack computer networks and internet connections looking for vulnerabilities.

Worms can consume large amounts of network bandwidth slowing down internet connections in the process.  Worms can steal information without modifying program data.

Trojans

Trojans (named after the  historical Trojan horse) is a malicious software that disguises itself as genuine. It can also be hidden within a non malicious software. Trojans can be spread by tricking people into installing an app, clicking on a link or some email attachment sent into your inbox.

Unlike viruses and worms which can self propagate, trojans propagate through the mistakes of humans.

Ransomware

Ransomware as the name implies, is  a malware that steals sensitive information, or encrypts files then tells the victim to pay some ransom to some criminal before stolen information can be returned or decrypted. 

Scareware

Scareware  is a malicious program that scares people into taking some action. For example a message can suddenly appear on your phone stating it has a virus and  tricks you into clicking a link to download antivirus. But that link actually leads to the malicious program. 

Spyware

Spyware is  a software that, without permission, collects information from your device. Information collected can include, keylogger, screen images, videos, audio from a microphone, and so on.

Cryptocurrency miners

Cryptocurrency miners are malware that steals cryptocurrency by infecting the CPU of its victims. 

Adware

Adware is software that generates revenue for the party operating. It displays adverts on your device usually after download of a free software. The adware is installed and run without permission.  

Blended malware

Blended malware refers to a technology that uses different types of malicious programs to run. For instance, a software comprising viruses, worms and trojans.

Zero day malware

Zero day malware is any malicious program that exploits a loophole not previously known to the public or to the creators/sellers of the technology containing the defect.