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7 Things You Can Do Right Now to Protect Your Computer from Viruses and Hackers

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Being connected 24/7 has opened the door for new challenges when it comes to cybersecurity and data storage protection. Whether you’re a felony defense lawyer, a doctor or a virtual assistant, your computer is at risk when you connect to the internet.

Every time we visit a website, there’s a risk we encounter viruses that can damage our computers and make us lose important information. Our gadgets are vulnerable, no matter how much we like to tell ourselves that it can’t happen to us.

Hackers can get access to our passwords, personal bank accounts, work information and other important data in our computers. We can lose money, properties and even become victims of identity theft.  

Whether it’s your personal computer or your working device, cybersecurity is important. Check these seven effective ways to protect your computer, to keep your information safe.

1. Invest in an Efficient Antivirus Software

Viruses can slow down your computer, cancel important data and even crash your PC. An antivirus software detects threats and protects your computer from any unauthorized software or code that wants to enter in the system.  

Make sure your antivirus software:

  • Is reliable – choose a product that runs in harmony with your operating system and doesn’t conflict with other software you’re using;
  • Is easy to use – you don’t need to be an IT specialist to get the best protection against viruses;
  • Has frequent updates – with so many viruses, Trojans, and worms threatening computers, you need a product that keeps up with the news in the niche;
  • Doesn’t inhibit your computer – if your PC is running slow because of your antivirus, you’ll be tempted to shut down protection, making yourself vulnerable;
  • Includes spyware protection – protects your computer against software that collects data from your computer and delivers it to third-party websites without your approval.

2. Update Your Operating System and Software

For better protection, set your computer to update software automatically – including antivirus and antispyware software. Updates are going to fix bugs, improve features and make your computer faster and more reliable. All these, while improving your security features.

Old versions of your operating system are easier to break through, leaving more room for viruses and hackers. If you don’t have time to do the updates yourself, you can use Windows Updates, which automatically updates software for you.

3. Protect Your WiFi

Routers are comfortable and easy to use, but they’re also easy to access. Hackers can enter into your system and steal your data in just a few seconds if you don’t protect your wifi network.

Change your network name and reset your passwords on a regular basis. An open wifi (no password) isn’t such a good idea. It may be easier for you and your family to connect to the internet, but it also gives free access to your system to anyone close enough to your home.

You should also activate encryption and update the router every time it’s needed.

4. Use a Firewall

A firewall is a software that doesn’t allow your computer to communicate with other devices without your permission. In simple words, it keeps hackers from accessing data on your PC, among other benefits.  

Most operating systems are equipped with built-in firewalls, to protect your devices. However, you need to make sure the firewall is turned on and updated.

5. Set Strong Passwords

One of the easiest things you can do to protect your computer is to set complex passwords – that you will remember. Also, make sure you choose security questions and answers wisely. Personal information is easy to find online, so details like your street or your mother’s name aren’t so secret anymore.

Your password should:

  • Have at least 8-10 characters;
  • Alternate lower-case letters with capital letters and numbers;
  • Include special characters, such as &, *, ! or #;
  • Never include personal information – your name, address, personal codes or phone number.

Google advises users not to use the same password for multiple accounts. If you can’t remember passwords, consider using a password manager.

6. Choose Stronger Authentication Methods

If you have the possibility to set an alternative authentication method, don’t hesitate. Face recognition, fingerprint, codes sent to your mobile phone. Anything that can make access to your accounts more difficult can help you protect your personal data and your devices.

Online bank accounts, PayPal, and other similar apps have already implemented such authentication methods to improve security. Check your providers to see what security features they provide and start using them. It may take a little longer than simply typing your password, but the benefits are obvious.

7. Check Privacy Settings When Shopping Online  

Data breaches and hacking events are a real threat. Even more, ransomware attacks have registered a 50 percent increase from last year. Even if many big stores have registered a smaller number of attacks, you’re still at risk every time you register with unknown e-commerce websites.

You must pay attention whom you give personal data online too. Shop at trustworthy e-stores. If you want to try a new store, take time to check its privacy settings before leaving your credit card information or connecting your PayPal account. Sites should have an https connection and valid security certificates. Remember that online payment should be fast, but it must be secure, as well.

For secure payments, use your credit card for shopping online. Debit cards have lower security levels and are less efficient against fraud.

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