Is Your Computer Safe? 5 Strategies For Safer Computing 

Your computer is the Wild West of the digital age. It’s teeming with danger, chock-full of bugs, glitches, and malicious individuals waiting to take your personal data hostage – or worse. Yes, it’s that bad. That’s why you need to keep it safe.

But how? Like any good gunslinger, you must cultivate and develop your skills to stay alive. You need to know the weapons of your trade and how to use them.

Here are five tips on how to keep your computer safe.

1. Create a Strong Password

Your password is your first line of defense against online security threats. It should be strong enough to resist brute force attacks, dictionary attacks, and other password cracking techniques. A strong password has the following characteristics:

  • It is at least eight characters long.
  • It includes both upper-case and lower-case letters. Use all your vowels, too!
  • It includes at least one number or special character (such as an exclamation point or an asterisk).
  • It contains both numbers and letters.

Passwords such as these will resist cracking by brute force attacks – where hackers try thousands of commonly used words in an attempt to discover a password. As such, you should not use your name, the names of your children or pets, your birth date, or any other information that a hacker can find out about you.

2. Use a Firewall

Setting up a personal firewall is critical to protecting your computer from hackers, viruses, and malware. A firewall works by monitoring all network activity that is going on in or coming into your computer. If the firewall sees any suspicious activity, it will automatically block the communication.

There are several types of firewalls to choose from – hardware-only firewalls, software-only firewalls, or a combination of hardware and software. Some are free while others you have to pay for – depending on what type you use and its features. Hardware-only firewalls

These are the cheapest and easiest to install. They are typically stand-alone boxes with a single port that connects to your router or switch, and they come in two varieties: a stateful firewall and a packet filter.

Stateful firewalls: Stateful firewalls work by looking at packets that cross the network. Only one packet (a “flow”) can cross the firewall at any given time. As soon as that packet leaves the port, the firewall will sequence-check all packets that follow the first packet in that flow and place them in another network queue, usually called an “out-queue.”

Packet filtering firewalls: Packet filters are generally more powerful and efficient than stateful firewalls because they don’t necessarily have to check what flows pass through them (in a stateful firewall). They also can perform this checking without a queue.

Software-only firewalls: Software-only firewalls are quite different from the other firewalls. They are not as secure as either a stateful or packet filtering firewall.

3. Install Antivirus Software

Once you have set up your firewall, installing the best internet security software for computers follows. Like the firewall, there are several types of antivirus software that you can choose from: free and paid for, stand-alone or cloud-based, and on-premise or hosted.

Antivirus programs are designed to protect your computer from malicious software, such as viruses, spyware, and Trojan horses. These pieces of software can wreak havoc on your computer, deleting files, modifying settings, and displaying ads. Some will even log onto your accounts without your knowledge and try to steal personal information or passwords.

As the name implies, an antivirus will scan your computer for any potential viruses and malware and then remove them. It is a critical step because even though your firewall can stop some of the threats, it won’t protect you from all of them.

4. Use an Antispyware Program

Spyware is nothing more than software that collects information about a person without knowledge. Often, these programs are installed without a user’s knowledge.

Spyware comes in two forms:

  • Adware – also called advertising-supported software; that displays ads on your screen. It is typically disguised as something else, such as internet radio, game, or toolbar.
  • Spyware and keylogger – this kind of spyware records what you are doing online and sends the data to another party.

The best way to protect your computer from spyware is to download and install an anti-spyware program. Just like the antivirus, an anti-spyware program will also scan your computer for any potential malware and then remove it.

5. Keep Your Browser Up to Date

Keeping your browser up to date is a good idea because it will protect you from malicious websites and unwanted popups. Of course, if you do not know how to uninstall an old version of the browser, then you might expose yourself to several threats. Therefore, you must regularly update your web browser to prevent malware from placing on your computer.

Web browsers are susceptible to infections because they are so widely used. Therefore, it is important to keep them up to date not to be vulnerable to those types of attacks.

Keep in mind that it is not enough to have the latest version of your web browser installed. You should also keep all your plug-ins and add-ons updated with the web browser itself.

Summing Up

The rise of technology has led to a cybercrime epidemic, with hackers and cybercriminals searching to steal other people’s information, identities, and money. Due to this increase in cybercrime, you must follow the tips and suggestions in this article to protect your computer.

Remember that even if you never visit untrusted sites or download anything from the internet, a hacker could easily infect your computer by sending a malicious email. This is why you need to take all the necessary steps to protect your data. It is not enough to install a personal firewall and an antivirus program – the most important thing is to keep your browser up to date.

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