If there is anything worse than having your computer down because of a malware attack or because of a virus, you probably don’t want to experience it. Worse, it doesn’t help to know that even as you read this, a hacker or malicious code writer is plotting to steal your data, your hard-earned money, or just your peace of mind. What do you do?
There are some simple steps you can take to help you sleep easier at night.
1.Get behind a firewall
Just the word “firewall” is already reassuring. A firewall controls the traffic between your computer and the Internet. If you want to stop online threats, there’s a good place to start.
Firewalls run in the background looking for threats trying to cross their defenses. You can set this firewall to be extremely sensitive and ask you for permission to allow virtually anything coming from the Internet onto your machine. You have to ensure that your firewall is running and it is protecting you while you are online.
2. Scan regularly for threats
The antivirus on your system is not ornamental. Use it regularly to make sure your computer hasn’t picked up anything unwanted on your online travels. You can also set your antivirus to scan at regular intervals. If you don’t have an Antivirus for windows on your system, there are several goods, free ones available. You can also pay for premium protection packages.
3.Install malware/spyware scanners
These days, the real threats you will face online are unwittingly downloading malware and spyware onto your machine. Malware may cause your computer to act strangely and may even damage parts of it. Spyware allows unknown actors remote access to your computer to monitor what you’re doing or to steal information.
Malware and spyware scanners look for different things from your antivirus, and it may be best to purchase separate products for this purpose. One type of malware, ransomware, can be particularly damaging. This software encrypts your files so you lose access. The hacker then demands a ransom for the return of the information and Ransomware scanners can be bought separately as well.
4. Update the programs on your computer regularly
You may do everything above and still get your machine infected. Code writers are clever. If they can’t get a malicious actor in through the front door, they’ll try the back.
One of these backdoor methods is to take advantage of vulnerabilities in old software. Hackers can attack that weakness. Because you did not download the patch the software manufacturer created in an update, your computer will be open. Your browser is particularly vulnerable. If it isn’t regularly updated, it may allow you to access fake sites that steal your information.
Don’t use the same password for your online accounts
Having to remember a different password for all your accounts is maddening, but it’s safest.
Imagine using the same password for your bank account, your shopping account, Facebook, and your email. If a hacker got hold of one, he’d pretty quickly figure out the others. You don’t have to write them down, in fact, it’s probably just as dangerous as having the same password for all accounts. Instead, get a password manager.
Staying safe online is necessary, but it isn’t hard once you figure out some basics. Use them to protect your computer better.