Keeping Your Computer Safe: Steps Everyone Should Take

Defending your computer from threats against it and those who misuse their ability to create viruses and worms used to be as simple as not opening email from addresses which you didn’t recognize. Unfortunately, in the last two decades, keeping your computer safe has become much more complicated. Whether you’re hearing about massive corporations having their databases hacked and stolen or you’re just dealing with a stubborn virus you got from a webpage, it can be an almost constant concern. If you’re worried about keeping your computer a pristine sanctuary for your data, untouched by life-disrupting security or virus problems, then you should be following several steps to make sure you’re protected. These are simple habits which everyone should develop.

Never Disable Your Computer’s Firewall

Your computer’s firewall is the first and most important line of defense between you and the scary world of the open Internet. Its job is to basically be the policeman who oversees all of the traffic that enters and leaves your computer over the network, and it uses a set of rules to block or accept those connections. A firewall prevents someone from making an unauthorized connection to your machine through which they could hijack your operating system. If you’re using Windows, you’re probably familiar with this as Windows Firewall. Under no circumstances should you disable it while you are connected to the Internet, as this makes you a large and vulnerable target. There are even good quality third-party firewalls available for download that will get you an added layer of security and an additional sense of peace about the integrity of your system.

Good Antivirus Software is Not Just Optional

Protect Your Computer
Protect Your Computer
If you’ve been dealing with the antivirus software that came preinstalled on your machine and simply think it’s “good enough,” you need to take a more proactive stance towards antivirus protection. Viruses and computer worms are changing all the time, and hackers are constantly on the hunt for new ways to break into your computer and enter your files to steal personal information. You should do some research online to discover which antivirus software will suit your needs the best. There are plenty of programs which are available completely for free that will provide more than adequate protection. Once you’ve gotten your antivirus software installed, be sure that you schedule regular full system scans in order to maintain your security, and be vigilant about keeping the definitions file updated so it knows what to look for.

Don’t Open Strange or Suspicious Files

Avoid Suspicious Files
Avoid Suspicious Files
This is one of the oldest rules for keeping your computer safe, and it’s just as relevant today as it was in the early days of computers and the Internet. Avoid using sites that host illegal downloads of movies, music, or software, as these files are often packaged with malware, spyware, or Trojan horse viruses which can really ruin your day and your computer. If an email lands in your inbox from a friend with an attachment that you weren’t expecting, you should probably contact your acquaintance and ask them if it’s safe to open first. If a website automatically makes your browser download an executable file, you should delete it immediately. Do not ever run executable files you don’t trust, and especially not if they aren’t official installers for some software. You could be about to launch a virus willingly. Practice good judgment and common sense when it comes to what you open on your computer.

Always Connect to the Internet Securely

While it can certainly be tempting to connect to the Internet over an open wireless network, this isn’t always the best idea. By connecting to the network, you are allowing the network router some level of access to your machine. A malicious computer user could potentially set up an open network as a “honeypot” to attract unsuspecting users who are just looking for a quick and free way to connect to the Internet. This user could then hijack your machine or install a virus onto it over the network, and there’s no way you would be able to disconnect yourself in time. Always be sure to only connect to the Internet via connections that you can trust, and only use open networks if they are freely provided for you, such as at a restaurant or other establishment. Additionally, always ensure you have your entire security package set up before using public Internet. This means ensuring your firewall and antivirus software is running and up to date. With a little bit of attention, you’ll be able to keep yourself safe and secure. Go Here To Learn how to Securely Use The Web.