I remember a couple of decades ago when it was tremendously risky to run any foreign media on your PC, connect to any strange computers, or run any files. It seemed like anything could happen at any time. You had to always make sure to be running the latest virus protection and even then you never really felt secure. Your computer would invariably slow down over time and need to be reformatted every couple of years just to keep it running. While computer security is still tremendously important, it has gotten a lot easier and more reliable to keep your machines safe, even with more connectivity than ever.
There are a lot of different types of intrusive software that would love to get a foothold on your computer. It can be overwhelming trying to keep track of it all. Its certainly not just viruses anymore. Spyware, malware, scareware, ransomware, trojan horses, worms, and more are all out there waiting to prey on unsuspecting users and infiltrate any system they can find.
The first simple step to keep your computer protected is to make sure you limit control and access. Keep it password protected with a secure, unique password, and have any other users do the same. If you have multiple users, make sure the only ones with admin level access are those who need it. While you’re at it, maybe avoid having your password written down on a note at your desk.
With basic access level security setup, you should routinely check your computer physically. Make sure there are no strange cables or devices plugged in that you don’t recognize. This step protects you from physical keyloggers for example. You’ll also want to make sure that your computer’s software is updating frequently. Always use the latest updates whenever you can. These updates often include measures to increase security and close any loopholes. With that you’ll be a step ahead of the game.
Now that your machine is physically secure and you’ve closed any known loopholes in your software, the next step is to install some good antivirus software. There are several great options here from McAfee, Norton, AVG and Bitdefender. These are all solid choices which should serve you well. These packages are often subscription based and offer protection from most known threats from viruses to malware and more.
While you should generally avoid visiting risky websites, opening suspicious emails, it isn’t always that straightforward of obvious. Many of these threats can be found on piracy or pornographic websites but it definitely extends beyond that and could corrupt legitimate looking sites. In fact completely legitimate websites could be corrupt without even knowing it, just as you could receive an email from a friend containing a threat, and your friend may never have sent it. This software can even help to warn you when you’re treading on dangerous ground and about to make a potential mistake. You’ll of course want to keep this software up to date with all your other software, and if you do then you can be assured of some great protection.
Keep in mind that this isn’t just for PC users either. I find that many Mac users tend to feel like they are immune to viruses, malware and the like but that is because traditionally these software attacks would go after the lowest common denominator. With Macs increasing in popularity, so are the threats to them. There are indeed viruses and security vulnerabilities no matter which operating system you machine uses and all users should be exercising caution.
If you want to take your security to the next level, consider a VPN like SurfEasy. These let you surf the web without the threat of hackers and snoopers. They protect your privacy by encrypting Internet traffic and add a step of removal between you an any other threats.