15 Effective Ways to Keep Your Computer Safe from Threats
Computers have been introduced and created to ease the things we do in life, be it personal or business. We use them to complete our school work. We use them to make an important work document. We also use them for leisure. And with all the things we use our computers for, it comes as no surprise that we all get easily frustrated when issues arise.
Regardless of where and when we use our computers, the sad truth is that threats exist. In fact, according to statistics, more than 30% of the computers all over the world are under threat.
Aside from troubleshooting our computers by reading PC tips and tricks online, there is something we can do to protect our devices. We have to be cautious all the time and do everything in our power to prevent computer threats and risks from wreaking havoc with our precious machines.
So, what can we do? Follow these fifteen handy and effective tips:
Tip #1: Install an Antivirus App.
Have you installed an antivirus app on your computer? If you still haven’t, now is the time to do so. Nowadays, there are lots of antivirus tools available for download online. While some of them are free, others come with a subscription fee. But it doesn’t matter whether you download a free version or get a paid one. What matters is you get a reliable tool that can effectively detect computer viruses and threats.
Tip #2: Keep Your Operating System Updated.
Whenever an operating system update is available, be sure that you download it right away. Updates are released not only to add new features but also to fix certain issues and system irregularities that may put your computer at risk.
The same applies to software and app updates. Make it a habit to check for updates from time to time to keep your computer safe and up to date.
Tip #3: Check Your Firewall Settings.
Your computer firewall acts as a protective barrier against any suspicious programs trying to gain access to your system via the internet. Although most computers, especially those running Windows, already have built-in firewalls, make sure that they are turned on.
Tip #4: Have a Backup of Your Data.
It is always wise to have a backup of your data saved via the cloud or to an external storage. With a backup, you can easily restore your important files and revert your system settings in the event your computer crashes due to a virus attack or power outage.
Tip #5: Scan External Devices That You Connect to Your Computer.
Every now and then, you may have to connect external devices like flash drives and smartphones to your computer. Though there’s nothing wrong with that, you might want to practice caution here. Scan the devices first before opening or accessing them. This way, you can prevent the entry of malware or viruses.
Tip #6: Avoid Clicking Links on Your Email.
If you’re using your computer for work purposes, then this tip is something you must not take for granted. When opening an email, make sure you avoid clicking any link, especially if it is coming from an unknown sender. There is a chance that it’s coming from a phisher or a fraudster.
Clicking it might take you to a phishing site, where you are asked to provide your personal information.
Tip #7: Always Protect Your Email.
Yes, you need to protect your email. Apart from setting a strong password, be sure that you enable spam filters or install antivirus extensions that regularly scan your email for any threats.
Tip #8: Check the Security of the Website You Are Trying to Access.
Whenever you try to access a website, view its legitimacy first. In the URL portion of your browser, check if there is a lock icon next to the URL. If there is, it means the website is 100% secure. It might have an SSL certificate activated to protect the security and privacy of its visitors.
Tip #9: Use Reliable Browsers.
Nowadays, there are plenty of browsers you can use to surf the web. Chrome, Safari, and Firefox are just among those that are considered safe, trusted, and reliable. These browsers already have built-in security features that keep malware entities and viruses at bay. In addition, you can make tweaks in the settings of these browsers to further strengthen their security.
Tip #10: Filter Your Downloads.
In case you haven’t noticed, most browsers have this security feature that asks you whether or not you want to continue a download. They will display a message telling you that the file you are about to download may contain entities that may harm your computer. If you decide to push through with your download, make sure that you run a quick scan first as it might carry malware as well.
Tip #11: Be Careful of the Sites That You Visit.
When accessing a website, use your judgment. Look around for any suspicious signs that may put you into trouble. To be safe, only visit websites that you are familiar with or that are known to be trusted. Do not access porn sites, promo sites, and gambling sites as they are popular virus hosts.
Tip #11: Manage All Your Passwords.
Do not use your birthday, name initials, or other special letter and number combinations as your passwords as they are easy to guess for an attacker. Use the strongest passwords that you can think of. Every so often, update your passwords to tighten your security.
Tip #12: Avoid Connecting to a Public WiFi Network.
Don’t be tempted to connect to a public WiFi network unless really necessary. Hackers might be on the same network, waiting for their next victim or secretly stealing passwords. If there is a need to connect to a public WiFi network, use a Virtual Private Network. This way, your traffic and data are encrypted, meaning you stay safe and secure.
Tip #13: Install Site Blockers.
Sure, your browser may already have built-in security features. However, did you know that you can further strengthen your security and prevent any unnecessary PC repairs by installing a site blocker? A site blocker works by blocking potential websites that may contain malware or may get you involved in scams and fraud. It can also be programmed to block certain websites.
Tip #14: Don’t Be Tempted by Online Deals.
While accessing the web, you may come across various ads and deals. You might even encounter random pop-up notifications telling you that you are a lucky winner and that you just won a brand new iPhone. Well, don’t believe everything that you see online. If it’s too good to be true, don’t click. These notifications and ads are purposely created to entice you to click on them. Usually, clicking on them will redirect you to a website that hosts a plethora of malware entities.
Tip #15: Install a PC Cleaning Tool.
Lastly, we suggest that you install a trusted PC cleaning tool. Run regular scans to ensure no form of threat, virus, or malware entity has made it through your security efforts.
We hope that the tips above have been helpful. In case we missed an important tip that might help others, feel free to share it with us in the comments.
A Computer Engineer by degree and a writer by profession, Cathy Trimidal writes for Software Tested and Outbyte. For years now, she has contributed articles focusing on the trends in IT, VPN, web apps, SEO, and digital marketing. Although she spends most of her days living in a virtual realm, she still finds time to satisfy her infinite list of interests.