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It is quite a difficult time in terms of technology security especially with the recent eBay hacking attack that has resulted in millions of users’ personal details being stolen. If you have a home computer that you’re keen to protect then you might be feeling the increased threats from hackers and viruses – among other issues – that have been highly publicised in recent times. The key to handling this is not to feel overwhelmed by these threats, which, although very real, are also quite simple to manage. There are some very easy steps you can take to protect your computer against cyber criminals and some of these are listed below.
Antivirus and PC security
Antivirus software is fairly essential if you want to make sure that you are instantly notified if there are any attacks on your computer, as well as to provide protection in the event that an attack happens. Conventional wisdom indicated that Apple products didn’t require this kind of protection in the past but this is not necessarily the case any more – in 2012 Apple dropped the claim that its products did not get viruses after hundreds of thousands of machines were successfully attacked by a Trojan. The lesson? If you want to be really safe then install some antivirus software such as AVG, Avast, McAfee and Norton – These offer free and paid for software.
Take passwords seriously as these are the gateways that protect all your personal information. According to the password management software provider SplashData, ‘password’ was the most common password to be posted by hackers in 2012. Also common currency are ‘password1,’ ‘12345’ and ‘yourfirstname1.’ If you put yourself in the position of a hacker these are the first options you would try to guess in order to hack something so don’t make it easy on cyber criminals and use a password that incorporates letters, numbers, symbols, capitalisation and an element of nonsense.
Be careful what you click on
Be careful what you do when you’re using your laptop or desktop as it’s not just the unprompted attacks that tend to be the main cause of damage. Many of the biggest threats to our home computer security come from downloading infected files or clicking through to links that allow foreign bodies into the computer. If you don’t trust the source of a link or a download then just delete it or navigate away from the page. If the link has come to you in an email you can check the real sender by hovering over the sender name – often the sender address might look official, such as ‘NatWest Customer Services’ but as soon as you hover the cursor over the name it shows up the real email, which is something very different. If you’re still not sure about authenticity then contact the company in question and check their website/email policies and whether what you’re looking at is genuine.
No matter what kind of computer you have, taking the steps outlined above can help you make sure that you preserve its security and avoid having to take costly response measures if you do become the victim of a cyber criminal. Security in general is simply common sense and it is certainly worth the effort – taking care of what you own will make it last, and can save you a great deal of money in the long run too.