22 May 2017
When writing at home is your job, your whole life can be tied up in your computer. All of your work, and therefore all of your income, hinges on that one machine. With recent security attacks like the WannaCry epidemic fresh in our minds, here are some important security tips to ensure that you are always safe when working.
The first thing to know is that updates to your computer system and software need to be installed as soon as they become available. In the case of the WannaCry attacks, a security patch had already been released which would have prevented the attacks from happening. The users simply had not updated their computers, resulting in a vulnerability which did not need to be there. Make sure you install updates as regularly as possible, and turn them to automatic if you can.
Use a VPN
A VPN is like an extra shield between your computer and any malicious attacks that may come from the internet. The Virtual Private Network will hide your IP address and will make it impossible to tell where you are logging on from in most cases. It’s also great for accessing websites in different countries which may be blocked in yours, as it removes location-based restrictions.
As your clients could be from anywhere in the world, it makes sense to use something that gives you access to blocked resources! Make sure that you use the right VPN for your operating system for the best results.
Add anti-virus software
This is essential for ensuring that your computer is safe from all attacks. They may come from anywhere and at any time, so even though you are already taking precautions, have an anti-virus in place as a back-up plan. This software will catch and isolate any malware that gets onto your system, allowing it to be destroyed before it affects your files or takes over your computer.
Back up regularly
Get yourself a hard drive which you can use as a back-up system – if not two. You should regularly update these hard drives with copies of your work, so that they are saved forever. If your computer should be attacked, have water spilled into it, or simply break, you will still have access to those files.
This is especially a good idea for long-term projects: imagine losing 30,000 words of work in one go because it was not backed up! Making the updates at least once a week is essential. If you suspect that anything is wrong with your computer, don’t plug your hard drives in, as this may corrupt those copies of the files as well.
Keep passwords safe
Make sure that you never share your passwords with anyone – even someone that you think you can trust. They may be careless with the information and inadvertently share it with someone else. You should also never write them down, or store them anywhere on the computer itself. Use different passwords for different services, and change them regularly.
If someone else uses your computer – such as a child or a partner – make them a new account on the computer so that they do not have to use your login or your programs. This will help keep all of your information and files as safe as possible.
Follow these security tips to reduce the possibility of an attack on your computer as much as possible – and to limit the damage which can be done if one does strike. You can never be too cautious when it comes to protecting your livelihood!