1. Keep your computer updated
When Microsoft and Apple release updates for our computer, they include security updates to keep up with the latest viruses and hacking tools. A simple process like accepting an update on our computer can actually make it less susceptible to both viruses and hackers.
2. Don’t click on links within emails
A good practice is if we don’t recognize a sender of an email, don’t click on any links within it. Microsoft says 44.8 percent of Windows virus infections happen because the computer user clicked on something.
3. Back up your computer
We have three basic backup options: an external hard drive, online backup service, or cloud storage. Use a service like Google Drive, and your files will be continually backed up to the cloud. And the price is right: free for up to 5 GB of data.
4. Install an antivirus program
We don’t have to pay for software to protect our computer or for an annual subscription to maintain the latest virus protection. For Windows users, Microsoft Security Essentials is free. Avast is another free anti-virus program.
5. Use a firewall
A firewall is another excellent defense against potential attacks. Firewalls act as a sort of alarm, warning us of any suspicious attempts to connect to our computer. Firewalls serve as a first defense against malicious attacks against things like worms, Trojans, and hackers from accessing important files and programs on our computer.
6. Use a strong password
A strong password is one that is complex, with a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. While some people use the same password for everything, try to avoid that practice. When creating a password, use eight characters or more and, to make them easier to remember, try using short phrases separated by spaces or underscore marks.
7. Use a pop-up blocker
Web browsers have the ability to stop pop-up windows and allow you to set the security for accepting pop-ups. The federal OnGuardOnline site recommends never clicking on links within pop-up screens.
8. Don’t pirate software
Obviously there are legal reasons to avoid pirating software, but our computer’s security is also at risk when we download software from shady websites. Many of the sites that host pirated software are loaded with spyware and are generally more trouble than we are worth. Much like suspicious email attachments, it’s also quite easy for a hacker to attach a virus to a file that claims to be something it’s not.
9. Don’t share our personal information with anyone
Don’t share any of our login information for any website with anyone. If we give someone our personal information and their computer is infected, our information is now in the hands of the hackers who attacked them.
10. Browse the web intelligently
Try to avoid websites that seem fishy. Odds are, if it looks shady, it is shady. Make sure you’re using the latest version of your web browser.