We all use our computers for so many things, from playing games to taking care of our finances, and for many of these things we need to use the internet. There is no doubt that the internet has made our lives much easier in a whole host of ways, but it has also exposed us to new kinds of dangers, namely hackers and viruses. Protecting yourself and your computer systems from these threats takes careful planning and the right technology and online practices. Hackers, viruses and other cyber threats are incredibly advanced so if you’re not adequately prepared, you will always be at risk of an attack.
To help everyone out there stay safe, here are 8 tips for protecting your computer from hackers and viruses.
1. Install Comprehensive Computer Security
The first thing you need to do in order to protect your computer from hackers and viruses is to install up-to-date, comprehensive security software. This will scan your computer for any virus or malware which are already on your systems and will also provide live protection against any attacks or invasions being attempted. It is vital that you have automatic updates turned on so that the securite software always has the latest weapons. Hackers and viruses are very sophisticated and are always making advances and so you need to keep your security constantly updated or a new virus will be able to sneak through.
2. Only Use Protected WiFi Networks
One of the most common ways in which computers pick up viruses or hackers gain access to your systems is when you use an unprotected WiFi network. This may be a public network in a park or in a coffee shop with a weak network. Once a skilled hacker has managed to connect to your computer through a WiFi network, there are so many potentially harmful things they can do. It is very important that you only use protected WiFi networks which you know to be secure.
3. Use a VPN when Browsing
Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs for short, are very useful when browsing the Internet as they provide various protections. First of all, they hide your location which means that you cannot be targeted by location-based advertisements or other annoying popups. More importantly, they disguise your IP address so it cannot be stolen and used against you by hackers. There are various free VPNs available but it is usually better to choose a paid one because they provide a more secure service. You can click here to find out more about how you can get a cheaper price on your VPN. Make sure you have the VPN activated in your toolbar and it will help to keep you safe.
4. Create Strong Passwords
As well as using a VPN, creating strong passwords for your computer and your online accounts is vital in securing your systems and personal information. Your passwords are like the keys which unlock everything so you want to make them impossible for hacking software to be able to guess. Make sure that your password is not something easy like your name or your birthday. Ideally you want a random combination of numbers, symbols, and both upper and lowercase letters. The best passwords are easy to remember but impossible to guess. Try making a question and answer password like this: “WhenDidIGo2America?2ThousandAnd5!”
5. Don’t Download Unknown Files
You should never download anything from the internet unless you know exactly what the file is and where it came from. Files can contain any number of nasty viruses or malware, and some of these can attach to your computer’s systems and files and corrupt the whole computer. Some are even capable of stealing your passwords and personal information or sending out messages to your contacts to spread even further. Check carefully before committing to a download and make sure you scan every file with your antivirus software
6. Be Wary of Emails and Attachments
Another common way in which viruses are spread is through emails and their attachments. You will often receive an email that at first glance appears to be from a contact in your address book or from a company like Netflix or Facebook. The emails from your contacts may have an attachment for you to open claiming to be a photo or something similar. In fact, you have probably received the email because your contact has a virus that is trying to spread by sending itself in attachments. The emails claiming to be from companies will say that you need to renew your subscription and direct you to a payment page. In fact, if you check the sender’s email, you will see that it is not from the company at all but is really a scam. Make sure you double-check every email before you open it or click attachments.
7. Never Visit Suspicious Websites
There are many websites on the internet that can be very dangerous to visit. These sites have built in systems that attack your computer in order to give you viruses or steal your data. Make sure that you only visit websites that you know to be safe. Your online security software will usually alert you if you are about to visit a dangerous site, so always pay attention and heed its warnings.
8. Be Careful When Making Online Payments
One of the most dangerous things to do online is to make payments. The rise of online retail, however, means that more and more of us are doing exactly that. Only ever give your payment details to websites which you know you can trust. You should also make sure that your internet banking has security that requires you to input your password or pin number before it approves any online payments.
Staying safe while using the internet is so important because viruses and hackers can do a huge amount of damage. It is important that you are vigilant in browsing the internet safely and that you use the right software and other technology to shield yourself from attacks. Follow these eight tips and you will be able to keep your computer safe from hackers and viruses.
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