Computer users are increasingly geometrically with computers often connected to networks, particularly the Internet. Users are advised to take some minimum precautions to avert possible attacks on their computers or other devices. Below are ten commandments of Internet security:
I- Use strong password
A password is “an established formula destined to be recognized as a friend to open a guarded passage." A computer password controls access to the computer and the data it contains. It is therefore important to choose strong passwords – very difficult to access with the aid of tools or guessed by a third party. A strong password must be at least eight-character long comprising letters in upper and lower case, numbers, and special characters such as: & * @ $ % §.
II- Regularly update your operating system, browser, antivirus, personal firewall, etc.
Most attacks or intrusions take their rise from vulnerabilities inherent in a computer operating system or software. Generally, hackers look for computers whose software has not been updated to launch an attack. That is why it is essential to regularly update all software to free your computer systems from vulnerabilities.
III- Do regular data backups
Regular data backup is one of the most important practices in ensuring business continuity. It is strongly recommended to constantly backup your data in a CD, memory flash drive, external hard drive or another computer to guarantee its availability in the event of a cyber-attack, system crash or disaster.
V- Don’t be in a haste to click on links
Indiscriminately clicking links or visiting unknown websites on your computer or phone can expose you to the risk of covertly downloading malware, which is capable of stealing personal information, damaging or disabling your computer or other devices.
Therefore, you need to be careful because most often cybercriminals mimic trustworthy sources to get you to click on a link (or download an app) that contains malware. Rather than click on lick on an email attachment, it is better to enter the website address in a browser address bar. This spares you the risk of executing a malware if it were one in the link.
VI- Never use an administrative account to navigate.
A computer user has privileges or rights. These rights do permit and limit control of certain actions and access to some computer files. These rights are generally called Administrator rights and user rights. In most cases, user rights are sufficient to allow the user send messages and surf the Internet. By limiting the rights of a user, we also limit the risk of infection or compromise of the computer.
VII- Control the access to your online accounts
Always sign out from your account at the end of each session especially when browsing in a cyber café or using a public Wi-Fi. This is in order to prevent third parties from accessing your account. Ensure to use strong and different passwords for different online accounts. Take time to delete cookies at the end of each session on websites especially those hosting sensitive data.
VIII- Never share hoax.
Avoid sharing unverified information. Watch out for messages that solicit massive sharing such as pyramid schemes, solidarity calls, virus alerts, etc. Whoever the sender may be, sharing such information may saturate the network or expose you legal consequences.
XI- Be careful
The Internet is an open market place inhabited by people with diverse motives. We must therefore be vigilant once we go online. For instance, if a well-known correspondent with whom you exchange regular email in English Language sends a message with a title in French Language (or any other language, don’t open it). If you doubt the source of the message, always try to verify by a phone call. Generally, it is advisable never to give out personal information even if requested to do so by a stranger you met online. Your surname, first name, phone number, home or school address can provided useful hints to unscrupulous people to hurt you.
X- Be careful while opening attachments to an e-mail: they often have malicious codes
One of the most effective methods of disseminating malicious codes is through email attachments. To protect yourself, never open attachments with the extensions: .pif (for example an attachment called "photos.pif); .com, .bat, .exe; .vbs, .lnk. On the other hand, when you send files as attachments to e-mails, make it a habit to send attachments in the most "inert" format, such as RTF or PDF for example, to limit the risk of information leakages