Cybercriminals are constantly coming up with inventive ways to compromise your security and steal your private information. Due to that, it’s essential to protect your computer. One issue is that this is easier said than done.
Steps To Protect Your Computer
There are many steps that you can take to secure your computer. Some of which are easy, while others can be more technical in nature. With that said, by following these steps, you’ll be sure that your computer is secure.
1. Update OS And Apps
Outdated apps and software are not safe to use. Why? They’ve got outdated security along with weaknesses in their coding that can be broken through. Consequently, it’s easy for their users to become victims of all sorts of crimes.
With every update, operating systems and applications enhance their security capabilities. As such, you should always utilize the latest versions of anything on your computer. When that’s done, you’ll get to remain one step ahead of hackers who aim to harm you.
Until a few years ago, you’d have to manually check for updates. Fortunately, this is no longer the case. Developers have now made their operating systems and apps automatically update. Hence, staying up-to-date is now easier today than it has ever been.
2. Install Antivirus And Antispyware
Viruses, malware, and spyware have been a problem for computer users for decades. At first, an expert was necessary to remove them from infected devices. Today, all that’s needed is a decent antivirus or antispyware program.
Thousands of antiviruses and antispyware software are available. Although some charge you a premium to use them, most don’t. In fact, many are free to use, making them ideal for anyone looking to save big.
Decent antivirus and antispyware software can easily delete viruses that have infected your computer. All that’s needed on your part is to run a general scan of everything. While this takes time, it’ll certainly go a long way when it comes to remaining safe.
3. Use Firewall
A firewall is a piece of software that acts as a barrier of protection for your computer. It actively prevents hackers and other types of cybercriminals from accessing desktops. Besides that, it also alerts you of any security breaches that might occur under your watch.
Web browsers like Google Chrome and Firefox have built-in firewalls that you can use. Apart from that, you may also utilize hardware firewalls that are offered by many ISPs. Meanwhile, business owners can purchase and use a heavy-duty business networking firewall.
4. Use Strong Passcodes
The use of strong passcodes is the simplest way to keep your computer and online accounts safe from hackers. Why? Strong passcodes make it hard for anyone to hijack your device or accounts.
Creating and remembering a strong passcode is easier said than done. After all, you’ll have to remember the mix of uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers you’ve just made up for more than one account. Thankfully, password managers exist that make everything easier.
Good password managers don’t just create strong passwords. They also act as a database for every one of your passcodes. Moreover, it also auto-fills your login information, so you won’t have to go through the trouble of typing long logins every time you access your accounts.
5. Use Strong Authentication
Having strong passcodes isn’t enough to make sure you don’t get compromised by hackers. It’s best to also use robust authentication to keep your accounts safeguarded.
Nowadays, countless websites and programs allow you to utilize two-factor authentication. With that said, many still don’t. Luckily, there are many third-party pieces of software available that allow you to beef up your security. Just like antiviruses, these 2FA programs do not charge you a premium and can sometimes be free altogether.
6. Backup Your Files
It’s always a good idea to backup your computer’s files. After all, they can get corrupted without any notice. Furthermore, they may also get stolen by troublemakers whose aim is to blackmail or extort you.
In the past, you would’ve needed an external hard drive or some other piece of external storage medium to backup your files. However, the advent of web-based cloud storage has made backing up personal information much easier than it has ever been.
Cloud storage services always charge you a monthly fee. However, we believe the cost is well worth it, considering that you’ll get to back up all your files easily in one place. And don’t worry since these services are often safe to use and hardly ever suffer from periods of downtime.
7. Shut It Down
A computer that’s always on is more visible, and therefore, at greater risk of being compromised by hackers. Hence, it’s always best to shut down your desktop overnight if you’re not running any tasks that require it to be on. Doing so lowers the risk of you becoming targeted by cybercriminals.
How does shutting down your computer help keep you safe? By disrupting any connection established by a hacker between his device and yours. Additionally, by putting your desktop under the radar.
8. Think Before You Click
Millions of people get infected by malware or become victims of cybercrimes simply because they don’t think before they click. Thus, it’s essential to be mindful of anything you’re accessing on the internet.
You can never be too safe, even if you’re browsing a website that has a reputation for being secure. In fact, your security can get compromised even if you’ve got dependable antivirus. As such, you must be cautious 24/7.
9. Shop Safely
Thousands of fraudulent online marketplaces are out there. There are even websites that mimic legitimate sites like Amazon and eBay. Conducting transactions with these fraudulent retailers come with many risks.
For example, you might get scammed and be sent a knock-off of what you purchased. Apart from that, it’s also possible for a fake retailer to steal your credit information. Following that, you’ll suddenly end up with a bank statement that’s sure to give you a major headache.
Never transact with small-time online retailers that have dodgy-looking sites. Also, make it a point to only shop in places that are widely-known such as Amazon, eBay, Rakuten, Walmart, Target, BestBuy, etc..
10. Use Parental Control
Children are arguably the most likely people to get victimized by cybercriminals. That’s because they’re often unaware of the dangers of the internet. As such, they don’t think before they click or check if the websites they’re interacting with are legitimate.
By far, the simplest way to protect your kids when they go online is to use parental control. In this day and age, almost all web browsers, operating systems, and applications give you the option to do so. As a result, keeping children protected is now easier than ever.
Parental control allows you to control what content your children can access. It prevents them from browsing web pages that aren’t suitable for kids. Moreover, it only lets them choose from a selection of movies, shows, and videos that are deemed child-friendly.
11. Use A VPN
Aside from antiviruses, VPNs are your computer’s best line of defense against hackers. How come? They encrypt your data to keep your online activities undisclosed. Also, they mask your IP address to keep your whereabouts secret.
There are hundreds of VPN services currently available. Each of which is remarkably different from one another. Although some are extremely safe to utilize, others can compromise your online security. Due to that, you must be picky when choosing a service.
Never settle for the cheapest VPN. Instead, go with the service that offers the best value for money. It should use military-grade AES-256 encryption, maintain extensive protocol support, have all the latest security features, and allow for many simultaneous device connections.
Putting It All Together
By following every step above, you’ll be able to keep your computer protected from hackers. However, it is important to remember that safeguarding your desktop is only the first step in becoming 100% digitally secure.
To ensure that you’ll never become a victim of cybercrimes, I highly recommend that you check out our other safety guides.