KEEPING YOUR COMPUTER SAFE: TIPS TO PREVENT VIRUSES AND MALWARE

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All sorts of nasty ‘’things’’ are floating around the internet, waiting to crash your computer, steal your data, hack your email and damage your system. The people that create viruses and malware are pretty clever, and much of their success rests on the fact that most of us do not pay much attention to protecting ourselves. I know for the longest time I didn’t. But, after experiencing a few computer problems, I wised up and educated myself on the basics; then I took it a step further and actually implemented the suggestions. This is where most of us go wrong—we know but do not do. So, after boning up on how to protect your computer and your personal information, get cracking.

INSTALL ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE

This tip is the most obvious, but one of the most overlooked. Perhaps it is because you do not want to pay for a program or maintain an annual subscription fee. Fair enough. But, do not let money get in the way of protecting your computer. There are oodles of quality free, anti-virus programs that you can download in minutes. Avast is a popular one.

USE FIREWALLS

Firewalls can help filter out the bad stuff while letting in the good. Like the name suggests, they act as a wall between your computer and cyber world bad boys like viruses and malware. It comes in two different types—software that you install on a personal PC or hardware firewalls that protect numerous computers at once. Beside filtering data and keeping out the damaging, unauthorized stuff, it prevents people without proper clearance from accessing your computer while you are online.

DISCONNECT WHEN NOT USING YOUR COMPUTER

The longer you spend online, the greater risk of someone gaining access to your computer. When you are not online, it is a good idea to disconnect from the internet. Simply staying online all day, regardless of whether you are actually using your computer is opening you up to unnecessary risk.

STAY UP TO DATE WITH SOFTWARE PATCHES

The people who create computer software are pretty darn smart, but they are also human, prone to error. Often times, somewhere down the line, a bug is discovered that makes your computer vulnerable. The company creates ‘’patches’’ to correct the bug and you need to download it. Most will automatically update you about this, but if not, check the website regularly for notifications of patches that need to be installed to shore up protection.

BACK UP

If you hold anything of value on your computer, and you are not backing it up, you will be in for a very upsetting experience should something nasty happen to your computer and you lose all that precious information. Backing up data is a simple and inexpensive. All you need is a flash drive. Or, you can avail yourself to online data storage from a number of companies or cloud technology. Should you experience a total crash, and you have not backed up, not all hope is lost; data recovery software can save the day by retrieving lost files.

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