So many websites and organizations talk about the beauty of Windows and macOS, but you rarely hear the same praise towards Linux, an operating system that prides itself on customizability and security. It’s unfortunate. And if you, the reader, haven’t tried Linux, you definitely should.
But while Linux can be extremely secure in the right hands, it’s becoming less vulnerable every day. This is due to how advanced cybercriminals are getting with their methods.
Even Linux users need to take a proactive approach to protect themselves, and that means practicing proper cybersecurity. Here are five ways Linux users can secure their devices.
5 Linux Cybersecurity Tips
1. Check Device Security Using Security Audits
The first thing any Linux user should do when sizing up their cybersecurity is determining where their device’s weak points lie. The best way to do that is by performing a security audit.
Certain programs, such as Lynis, scan your Linux device and OS to check for weak points, such as current malware, certain enabled features, and other vulnerabilities.
Linux users should perform a security audit as often as possible—usually once a week for good measure.
2. Prevent Snooping With a VPN
When you’re browsing the Internet, you probably don’t think of all the ways a cybercriminal could steal your data at any moment. It’s not really something people think about, or it’s not something they try to think about.
Browsing the Internet opens you up to tons of vulnerabilities, however, even on Linux—this goes double for those of you who use unencrypted networks (public networks, for example).
Using unencrypted networks—transferring data without any encryption present—opens you up to data breaches, man-in-the-middle attacks, and a hacked device. That doesn’t mean avoiding public networks altogether, however; with a Linux VPN, you can encrypt your device’s data from wherever!
Your data will benefit from encryption with a VPN (Virtual Private Network), and your online activity while browsing the Internet will be completely anonymized. In other words, any network becomes safe to browse on!
3. Frequently Backup Your Data
Cybercriminals may target your data, but that doesn’t mean they won’t destroy it, either. It’s not uncommon for malware and viruses to corrupt or even destroy data, leaving the affected user having to build their library back from scratch.
Losing your data means losing work. You would lose precious memories you’ve stored on your Linux machine, and your entire OS may become corrupted, requiring a fresh install. All in all, data corruption is a serious issue that you should attempt to prevent.
If you are ever affected by a virus or a piece of malware, and you lose your data, it pays to have a backup ready. Data backups can be done easily, and with external hard drives being relatively cheap nowadays, there’s no reason not to have one.
Data backups mean you can retain data you lost during a breach or virus infection. It could also mean that you can revert to a previous backup—one that existed before your device was infected with a virus.
4. Use a Password Manager
Passwords are the bread and butter of account security. Without a strong password to guard your accounts, your personal information—all of your data—is ripe for the taking. Short, weak passwords incredibly easy to crack nowadays, and it doesn’t help that many people use the same ten passwords for their accounts.
Fortunately, most reputable password managers are compatible with Linux, including LastPass and Dashlane. What are password managers, you may ask? Password managers are encrypted lockers users can store their passwords in. Password managers often come with a password generator, enabling users to create strong passwords with little effort.
So not only can you create passwords with ease, but you can also store all of them in one place—a locker that is near unhackable and uses the latest encryption protocols.
5. Install an Anti-Virus Solution
Back in the day, there was a myth that Apple products—macOS especially—were immune to computer viruses, along with all other types of malware. Of course, this wasn’t true, but it was true that cybercriminals focused more on Windows devices than Macs.
The same can be said for Linux today. While cybercriminals know the market share of Windows and Mac eclipse Linux’s, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ones out there writing malicious code for Linux platforms. And without a proper method to test for present malware, your device will be at risk of infection.
That’s why all Linux users should load their devices up with an anti-virus program. Even if Linux-affecting malware is rarer than Windows-affecting malware, users should be proactive to future threats, not reactive.
Linux continues to be an underrated, underused platform (in the consumer space). But for those of you who do use Linux, you all must make sure that your version of Linux is the safest it can be. Whether you use a password manager or run a security audit every so often, all that matters is that your data stays safe.
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