Around the world, people are sheltering in place as COVID 19 spreads. Like never before, individuals are relying on their computers to cope with the unprecedented time of crisis. Computers let individuals stay in contact with loved ones, so they don’t feel as alone. Also, many individuals are choosing to work from home to help do their part to control the spread of the pandemic. Children are taking online classes instead of congregating in school rooms. Computers have become an integral part of everyone’s lives and keeping the machine safe is of paramount importance. In this article, we will explore keeping your computer safe in Vancouver during COVID 19. 

Top Ways to Keep Your Computer Safe During COVID-19

Sadly, many are using these difficult times as an opportunity to launch cyberattacks. Keeping our computer safe has never been more crucial. If you let down your guard even for a second, your computer could be exposed to a data breach by scammers and hackers who will work to exploit the world event. 

Keep Your Computer, Phone and Apps Updated

It is imperative that you keep any device that you use for communication and internet access up to date to eliminate your risk of attack. Your browser on your computer will usually update automatically but you’ll need to keep an eye on the apps that you regularly use to read your various documents or to view your videos and photos that you store online. If you are using older apps then there might be bugs that haven’t been worked out which puts you at risk and leaves you vulnerable. 

Any time you download a file from the internet, you are in danger of possibly bring in a bug and sustaining an attack. Only use trustworthy software and download items from reputable sources like Google Play or Apple Store. 

Avoid Random Clicking 

Most people worry about phishing scams. Without a doubt, during COVID-19 such scams have increased with links that look like they are important information about current world events but instead they are dangerous to click on. Sadly, cyber attackers are using everyone’s quest for knowledge during these uncertain times to push viruses and malware in links and attachments. Scammers make it look like the link contains urgent information that you must click on and then they are able to use the phishing attack to access your devices and possibly steal your financial information. They will also use ransomware to completely lock down your system or device and then try to demand money (ransom) from you to unlock the system. 

If you do not know the organization or person who has sent you the email or message, then do not click on it. Do not click on any link or open any attachment that you are not 100 percent sure about. This is the only way to avoid phishing scams. 

Stay vigilant for any anomalies that might occur in a message which could indicate it is false. Typos, poor English, or language that just doesn’t flow are clues it is a scam. If the message still looks genuine and appears to come from a reputable organization then you should still check further to see if it is authentic by going to the actual website to look at the information instead of clicking on the link in the email. 

Look Over Your Privacy Settings

During these difficult times, you’re probably spending more time on your computer whether for work, school, or to stay close to loved ones and friends. Also, you probably want to stay informed or find things to do to pass the times of seclusion which means more time spent online. Ideally, you should take the time to limit the amount of data that Google can collect such as your location information or your search history. You can disable those things in your Google account. Unfortunately, if you regularly use Facebook, you cannot stop their data collection but you can control who sees what you post by not making it public and instead choosing to share with friends only. 

Please be aware that Google and Facebook always track your online life so if you have a problem with being monitored then you might want to explore other social media outlets and search engines. If you need a messaging app then you could try Signal or WhatsApp which provides end to end encryption and stores less metadata. 

Video Conferences

Whether you are using Zoom or Skype to communicate with family and friends or for remote work conferences, you’ll want to focus on safety. Jetsi Meet has become popular for large meetings and so has Zoom. For smaller meetings, go with Wire, Signal, or WhatsApp. 

Keeping Your Digital Safe

Your goal is to keep your digital life ad data safe. This is achieved by reducing data exposure. If you do no longer use certain accounts, then do not hesitate to delete them. Any inactive accounts should be immediately deleted. Also, install a password manager to store your passwords safely in an encrypted form. It will also help generate new passwords that are difficult to obtain and guess. You can try KeePassXC which is not only offline but also an open source. If you would rather go with a commercial service, then try 1Password or LastPass. 

Staying Up to Date

Current times are historic and scary. Most people don’t know what articles are fact or fiction when they read something about  COVID-19. However, to stay-up-date, you probably regularly scan the internet for answers to your most concerning questions. Sadly, a lot of the information being pushed online is nothing more than articles created by snake oil salesmen and others. If something catches your attention, then you’ll want to take the time to verify the content and make sure it was created by a trusted source. Certain major news organizations have now started to fact check information and even debunk certain untrue stores. Recently, Twitter even fact-checked U.S. President Trump’s Tweet over mail-in voting due to its inaccuracies. 

Clearing decipher fact from fiction does take time but has become a necessity for anyone seeking the truth versus fiction. Giants like Twitter, Facebook, and Google are all working to pull down inaccuracies and curb unsubstantiated rumors. 

At TickTockTech, we know the importance of keeping your computer safe in Vancouver during COVID-19. We offer on-site computer repairs and remote service. 

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