When you hear most people talk about PC security they will almost always be talking about security on the Internet.
It is just as important to take the right steps to ensure complete security for your PC, both on and offline.
Here is a list of what I think are the most important steps required to achieve this.
Step 1 – Install an Anti-Virus Program and more importantly USE IT. Especially scan any files you download from the internet and also any removable media (USB memory stick, DVD’s, etc). Viruses & Malicious Software on removable media now account for most of the worlds infected computers.
Step 2 – Keep your Windows Operating System, whether it’s Windows 7 or 10, patched with the latest updates from Microsoft.
Step 3 – Be extra careful when opening and reading Email with attachments, especially when you are unsure of the sender.
Step 4 – Use a Firewall. The Windows Firewall is on by default but there are better ones available for a modest fee.
Step 5 – Regularly backup important files. Almost all PC’s have at least a CD-Rewriter, most will now have a DVD Rewriter. You can also obtain software that makes backing up of files easier than ever.
Step 6 – When creating passwords use a combination of letters, upper and lower case, numbers and characters. If you are having trouble thinking of a password try using a word with numbers after every letter. I.e. Using the word Home and numbers 1-4 provides upper and lower case along with numbers and is also hard to crack. H1o2m3e4. If you need a password containing a character, use the same method but pick a word containing the letter ‘a’ and substitute it for the ‘@’ character e.g. Safe1234 becomes S1@2f3e4. I hope you’ll agree this makes picking what initially appears to be a complex password easy.
Step 7 – Take care when downloading and installing programs. Always virus-scan any downloaded file before opening it.
Your home computer is a target for criminals. They want what you’ve stored there. They look for credit card numbers, bank account information, and anything else they can find. By stealing that personal information they can gain access to your personal finances and make you the victim of identity theft.
But it’s not just information they’re after. They also want your computer’s resources, meaning your hard disk space, your fast processor, and your Internet connection. By hijacking these resources they can attack other computers on the Internet.
Home PC’s, typically are not very secure. Combine this with high-speed Internet connections that are always turned on and criminals can quickly find and then attack home PC’s.
No matter how a home PC is connected to the Internet, these sorts of attacks are often successful. Many home PC owners don’t realize how much attention to computer security is needed.
You are probably wondering how intruders break into your computer?
In some cases, they send you email with a virus. Reading that email activates the virus, allowing hackers access your computer. Once they’re on your computer, they can install new programs and viruses or Spyware that let them continue to use your computer. Even after you discover that your PC has been hacked, it can be difficult to remove this software. It is usually cleverly disguised so that it blends in with other programs on your PC.
I strongly advise you to take the steps described above to avoid losing any personal information.