Whether you’re running a company, working from home, or simply looking for ways to stay connected and find information in your personal life, you likely use a computer to access the worldwide web. And why shouldn’t you?
Everyone is doing it these days – even my grandma has a Facebook account! The trick is to make sure you’re protected from outside threats when you use the internet so that the pricy hardware that facilitates your connection isn’t vulnerable to attack.
You also don’t want hackers rifling through your files and uncovering sensitive information.
So here are just a few methods of protecting your computer from outside threats such as hackers or malicious software.
- Firewall. This is your computer system’s first line of defense against intrusion, and although most machines now come equipped with a basic firewall that will combat standard, low-level threats, you might want to seek out something a little beefier depending on what you store on your computer.
For example, if you run a business and you keep client files that include sensitive information (names, addresses, SSNs, credit card info, etc.) you will definitely want to do everything in your power to ensure that outsiders cannot gain entry into your system.
This is as much for your own protection as that of your clients since a breach that leads to identity theft become a lawsuit against you.
- Antivirus. Even if you have a decent firewall in place it may not stop malicious software from worming its way past your defenses.
The problem with most viruses is not that they are more advanced than your firewall; they don’t have to be because more often than not you let them in by opening email attachments or entering dangerous websites. For this reason it behooves you to install antivirus software that will spot the invading code, stop it in its tracks, and quarantine any files that get infected before they can spread the threat.
- Anti-spyware. This type of software generally won’t attack your computer system directly, but it can be just as harmful as a virus in some ways.
Often it gets in the same way as a virus (through links you click in emails or on sketchy websites) but it doesn’t let you know it’s there by messing with your system.
Instead it opens a sort of virtual window that allows trackers to watch and copy what you’re doing. This could let hackers see your keystrokes or passwords or open a back door that gives them total access.
- File encryption. Although a password-protected system and the right security software will go a long way towards keeping your data safe, you may still want to do a little more to ensure that sensitive information cannot be mined by hackers.
A program that encrypts your data is like the cherry on the cake when it comes to computer protection.
- Common sense. Even the top security setup from home security systems won’t protect your home from burglars should you leave the door open, and the same basic principle applies to computer security.
A little common sense can go a long way towards ensuring that your system is protected from outside threats. So don’t open emails from unknown sources, even if they say you’ve won the Nigerian lottery. And stay away from sites that register as a threat with your antivirus software.