Not only do we depend on computers for work and school-related endeavors, we’ve also come to rely on them for just about everything else. From watching movies to surfing the web to managing our social media accounts, modern-day PCs are the ultimate all-in-one devices. However, despite being technological marvels, many computers are vulnerable to an ever-growing array of security threats. Anyone looking to ensure the long-term safety of their computer should consider taking the following measures.
Installing Antivirus Software
These days, no computer can afford to be without reliable antivirus software. With virus developers working around the clock to infect as many computers as possible, it’s in every security-conscious individual’s best interest to invest in a top-tier antivirus program. When looking for the right antivirus security software, keep an eye out for programs that are adept at dealing with a broad range of threats, offer real time threat identification and provide regular updates. For maximum effectiveness, you’ll need to install software updates as they become available. More often than not, these updates are created in response to new viruses, and failing to install them in a timely manner leaves your computer vulnerable.
Installing System Updates
Although there’s no substitute for dedicated antivirus software, most operating systems come equipped with some level of virus protection. Operating systems and antivirus programs often work hand-in-hand to keep computers safe from a plethora of threats. However, as is the case with antivirus software, operating systems must be kept up-to-date for users to receive the best possible protection. With this in mind, make a point of installing every system update that comes your way in a timely manner. If manually installing updates is too cumbersome, enable your operating system to update automatically. To enjoy maximum protection, consider enabling your operating system’s built-in firewall. While this can sometimes slow operations down, it can also heighten security tenfold.
Securing Your Home Network
To prevent cyber criminals from gaining access to your computer through your home network, you’ll need to make network security a priority. At the very least, you should enable password protection for your network. Failure to perform this simple step is practically an invitation to unwelcome visitors. For added protection, make sure to change the default logins for your router’s administration menu. Any criminal who’s able to ascertain the type of router you’re using will likely try to gain administrator access, so this step is particularly important.
In the interest of protecting data that travels between your computer and router, take care to enable encryption. When perusing the encryption options in your router’s administration menu, keep an eye out for WPA2, as this is commonly regarded as the most secure type of encryption for home networks. Lastly, disable SSID broadcasting, as this will prohibit third parties from viewing or accessing your home network. Just be advised that whenever you wish to connect a new device or grant Wi-Fi access to trusted guests, you’ll need to temporarily re-enable it.
Being Careful Online
Although cyber security tools can prove extremely helpful in keeping your computer safe, you’ll also need to exercise a little bit of common sense when surfing the web. This means avoiding suspicious links and websites, particularly those that are identified as security risks by your operating system or antivirus software. Additionally, be cautious when reading emails from unfamiliar parties, particularly if the message contains attachments. Even if a message purports to be from someone in your inner circle, it could be the work of a phisher. If something appears to be off about a message from a friend, family member or professional colleague, contact the actual person before clicking any links or downloading any attachments the message contains.
In this day and age, it’s almost impossible to fathom a life without computers. Over the last several decades, nearly every facet of our daily lives has come to involve computers in some form or another. Given how integral computers are to both our professional and personal lives, it’s only fitting that we take the appropriate measures to protect them. Computers that fall prey to viruses, malicious software and hacking can make life very difficult for their owners and create tremendously stressful situations. Luckily, with the help of the previously discussed security measures, shielding your computer from an ever-expanding assortment of cyber threats needn’t be an uphill battle.