Computers are used today for a number of tasks, whether it’s financial, professional or social. We use our computers for shopping online, paying bills, communicating with friends and family via email and social network sites, research specified topics on the internet, and so much more.
We depend greatly on our systems to provide us with these services, yet one thing that we overlook is the security of our computers. Because computers play such a massive role in our lives today, with all the sensitive information that we put on them, it becomes imperative that we consider the security of these systems.
Below are 9 ways that you can make your system more secure:
- Connect To a Secure Network
The moment you connect to the internet, your computer is immediately connected to millions of other systems on the web. This makes your computer vulnerable to attacks from these other users. Information on the web flows to your computer, first by coming from your router to your computer. Although your data connection type and internet service provider all provide some level of security, it’s important that you ensure that your computer is secure.
- Install an Antivirus Program
Install a good antivirus program on your computer and keep it up-to-date as it is a very important component of safeguarding your computer. There are many different brands of antivirus scanners, all with their own pros and cons, so you’ll need to do your own research to determine which is best for you.
Antivirus tools use virus definitions, which are updated by the vendor in order to detect and remove malicious files. These vendors are constantly creating new virus definitions, which are used to keep the antivirus tool effective, and able to detect the latest malware. Most antivirus tools you’ll find today, offer automated updating. So make sure that feature is enabled, before you do anything else on your computer.
- Follow Best Security Practices
There are several things that you can do right now, in order to improve the security of your system. These are the following:
- Be very wary of attachments in emails, along with any links you are unfamiliar with. Do not open any attachments or click on any links, unless you know the sender and were already aware that you would be receiving the link or email attachment beforehand.
- Be very cautious when giving out sensitive information. Some websites may appear legitimate on the surface but may in fact be phishing sites.
- Keep Your System Up-To-Date
Always make sure your system is up-to-date. It’s not uncommon to encounter a system that has never been updated since the very first day it was purchased. Both Apple and Microsoft are constantly rolling out updates for their operating systems. These updates are very important for the security of your computer.
- Don’t Visit Warez Sites
Be very cautious of the sites that you visit while surfing the internet. Many of these websites may be infected with malicious files that get onto your system to moment you visit them. Some of these sites host malicious files in place of legitimate files, so also consider the things that you are downloading from these sites, and always make sure you’re antivirus scanner is up-to-date.
- Disable Unnecessary Services
Consider disabling nonessential services. In order to successfully do this, you will need to review the various features that are enabled by default. Once you have worked out what you can disable and what you cannot, I suggest you go ahead and disable those services that you simply do not use in your day to day activities on your system.
- Enable a Firewall
The firewall is essential software that controls the flow of data on your computer. It determines what comes on your computer from the internet. Most operating systems today come with software firewall built in. In addition to the built in firewall, you should also have firewall software built into your router. Referring to your routers manual should help you enable it.
Once the firewall has been enabled, you will need to learn how to use it to block and allow specific ports and programs from accessing the internet and your computer.
- Never Leave Your System Unattended
I suppose this one is more circumstantial than anything else, but it’s always best practice to not leave your computer attended. My system at home is constantly on, but I trust my family members enough to know that they would never log into it and install a virus on it. However, the circumstances may be different for you. Locking the screen, with a screen saver is rarely enough. I suggest you consider encrypting your data, that way, only people who know your log in details will be able to access all your personal files.
- Use Complex Passwords and Keep Them Safe
It’s very easy for your password to be compromised. The reality is that you cannot trust any website that you use a password on, as you have no idea what they are doing with this sensitive information, thus, its best practice for you to use a different password for every website that you make an account with. I know, this can make life more difficult for yourself, but it’s the only way that you can be fully secure.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website at Compuchenna.co.uk