6 Tips to Keep Your Computer Safe from Attack This Year

By George Otte

Sadly, the digital world is filled with security threats.

These threats take many forms:

  • Viruses: Just like a biological virus, this type of malware replicates itself inside infected host systems, then moves on to uninfected systems and repeats the process.
  • Trojans: Trojans mimic seemingly legitimate programs, tricking the victim into downloading or installing the malicious software.
  • Ransomware: Ransomware programs lock users out of their own systems unless and until they pay a cryptocurrency ransom.
  • Phishing and Spearphishing: These email- and social media-based attacks mimic seemingly legitimate messages. Usually, the message convinces the user to click a link and enter sensitive information, such as a password or bank account number.
  • Man-in-the-Middle Attacks: These attacks use a silent intermediary to intercept information sent by the user, including sensitive details such as passwords and financial information.

And these are just the tip of the iceberg. New, novel threats arise just as quickly as cyber security professionals can address them.

In this high-stakes environment, totally failsafe protection is impossible to achieve. A truly motivated, highly capable attacker backed by the full resources of an adversarial nation-state will compromise your computer system if it wishes to do so.

 

“Fortunately, nation-state attacks rarely target individuals. Corporate users with access to substantial financial reserves or valuable intellectual property are more commonly targeted by such actors.” — George Otte

 

Follow these six tips to protect your home computer system against unwanted attack or intrusion by those who wish to do you harm.

1. Complete Recommended or Required Updates in Timely Fashion

Do not put off recommended system and software updates longer than necessary. It’s best to address these action items as soon as you become aware of them, as they’re likely to get lost in your to-do pile with undue delay.

2. Keep Your Firewall On

Under normal circumstances, your operating system’s firewall should always be running. Don’t turn it off without first consulting a computer maintenance professional or your operating system’s developer.

3. Don’t Click Suspicious Links in Email, Even If You Know the Sender

Fight phishing and spearphishing attacks by avoiding suspicious links in emails and direct social media messages. Even if you know the sender, it’s always wise to send a separate email to inquire about the link; their account may be compromised.

4. Regularly Back Up Your Data

Use a cloud-based storage system that regularly, automatically backs up your data to a secure location outside your system. Alternatively, use an external hard drive as a backup. This will come in handy if and when your system is compromised by ransomware or otherwise crippled by attackers.

5. Install a Leading Anti-Virus Suite

Use a reputable, up-to-date anti-malware program that automatically scans your system for threats. Supplement these automatic scans with thorough manual scans as well.

6. Use a Virtual Private Network, Especially When Browsing on Public WiFi Networks

Avoid attacks on public WiFi by using a virtual private network (VPN) whenever you’re away from your home network. VPNs encrypt your device’s outbound traffic, obscuring sensitive data from snoopers.

What are you doing to keep your computer safe from attack this year? Have you tried any of the tips on this checklist?

 

George Otte is a Miami-based entrepreneur and executive with more than 15 years of multifaceted business operations experience.

George Otte Miami Businessman

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George Otte, Miami entrepreneur with more than a decade of multi-faceted business operations experience. He is the founder and chairman of the Otte Polo Group, a diversified firm that does business internationally.

Entrepreneurship runs in Otte’s blood. He founded his first company, a South Florida computer repair and support service called TSS, in 2002 — when he was just 21 years old. He successfully ran TSS while enrolled in college full-time, building a network of more than 100 clients by 2005.

Otte took the next step in his entrepreneurial journey with the acquisition of Geeks on Site, a comprehensive technical support company, in 2006. Throughout the late 2000s, George Otte built Geeks on Site into a premier coast-to-coast provider of on-site tech support, remote computer repair, and other value-added technology services. Geeks on Site now works with local technicians in more than 150 US metro areas.

As Otte’s business grew, he recognized the need to integrate superior customer service with flexible, on-demand product fulfillment. Staying true to his vision, he launched Responsive Call Center, a geographically diverse call center and telephone answering service that provides a range of live call center and answering solutions for clients in healthcare, legal, property management, general contracting and other industries.

Responsive Call Center now has a network of six independent answering businesses operating six different facilities throughout the U.S. and Latin America. As he pursues his vision of building Responsive Call Center into the United States’ top privately held call center and telephone answering service company, Otte continues to look for acquisition opportunities throughout the country.

Shortly after Responsive Call Center was established, George Otte turned his attention to product fulfillment and acquired Fort Myers-based Phase V, a fulfillment and shipping operations center with a diversified portfolio of customers, including work which dates back to the early 1980s.

Under Otte’s expert guidance, Phase V has grown into Florida’s top fulfillment company. Its diverse capabilities include warehousing, flexible order processing and fulfillment, direct mail, and contact services. Otte is committed to expanding Phase V’s innovative fulfillment and business support model to business clients in every corner of the United States and is actively seeking acquisition targets to support his goal.

Both Responsive Call Center and Phase V work with businesses of all sizes, from sole proprietors and small startups that can’t afford in-house fulfillment and answering capabilities to enterprise firms that trust Otte’s companies to provide impeccable service under the most challenging conditions.

George Otte was born in the Lima, Peru area. He moved to Florida with his family at age seven and enjoyed what he calls a “fairly typical American childhood.” Though he has some distant relations in Peru, Florida is home to Otte’s immediate family, business and social networks — and Otte himself. Although he devotes the vast majority of his time to overseeing his successful business ventures, Otte does find some time to relax. His hobbies include boating and fishing in the waters off Miami, spending time at the gym, and traveling to out-of-the-way destinations in Europe and Latin America.

Your Computer Is Like Your Car: 7 Ways to Keep It Running Smoothly

By George Otte

Your car gets you from Point A to Point B. Your computer puts a world of information at your fingertips.

At first glance, the two couldn’t be more different. Your car is mobile, while your desktop computer is stationary and your laptop only goes where you carry it.

Yet your computer and your car have more in common than you realize. Both require regular care and maintenance to remain in good working order. If used improperly or left to languish for too long, both can fail before their time.

Every car owner has a basic understanding of their vehicle’s maintenance needs, even if they don’t feel comfortable getting under the hood themselves. Every computer user deserves to have the same basic breadth of knowledge about maintaining their machine, even if they don’t know a circuit board from a CPU.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at seven straightforward computer maintenance tips and tasks that can extend your computer’s lifespan and improve its performance for years to come.

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