Viruses and hackers have been of a threat to us in the past, but these days the use of internet has become so convenient and common, we somewhat neglect and forget the importance of protecting our computers and files. It’s become normal to say, “oh it has a virus” and then just ignore the fact. Then consequently, we panic when it’s too late and we lose so much useful data.
We need to think of protecting our equipment at the early stages before it’s too late. Just recently, one of my designers lost 6 months of work, as they left their computer vulnerable to attacks. That’s six months of hard work and files gone in a flash. Just a little negligence of this sort can cause so much damage, and even put our own identity into danger.
If we care about our personal information, our online reputation, and our files, then it is essential that we do routine protection of our computers. Below is a list of some very basic steps you can carry out to protect your computer and data:
- Install the Latest Anti-Virus. There are so many free reliable anti-viruses online. Google has one, which can be downloaded via Google Pack. Some Anti-Virus companies offer free trial versions too, which is good enough to protect your computer. You may read some reviews and choose which is best for you.On the other hand, if you think that you need higher protections, its best to buy an Anti-Virus program . This will ensure that your computer is updated with the latest patches and releases that come out.
- Put Your Firewall On. Firewall blocks unauthorized access to your computer, it controls the way your computer talks to the internet, and monitors what goes in and out of the ports of your computer. It’s always advisable to keep your firewall on, as you never know when a virus might slip in through the back door.
- Be Careful With Your Emails and Avoid Suspicious Websites. Earlier, hackers could usually gain access through email attachments, but now, a link via your email or a pop-up window can be directed to their viruses and worms. If an email seems suspicious, it is best not to open it or click on any links. Always try to scan your email attachments and other downloaded files prior to opening them. Many anti-virus programs have this feature in them, where it will scan through your emails for you.
- Put Your Browser Security On. Blocking pop-ups is not enough. You have to set your browser either to the medium or high security level. This will help your browser block registered malicious websites or scripts.
- Always Backup Your Files. This is old advice. Although it’s already known, many of us are still too lazy to do so. Backup your files regularly. You can put this onto your calendar, and once a week or day it will pop up a reminder for you to backup. You can copy your files on to CDs and USB or other storage devices, along with online backup services.
- Before, it was not advisable to copy files online. If your files are not prone to information theft or if they are just images or some written files, you can backup your files using file backup sites like Dropbox.com or ftp hosting.
- Be Tricky and Smart in Assigning Passwords. As technology is rapidly advancing especially in communication and social networks, hackers are also having more avenues to steal your information and files. Be tricky with your passwords. Instead of “gelpen” you can make it “G31p3n”. Use a combination of numeric and alpha-numeric characters. You can also make it longer like “G31p3n2011” or “G31p3nG31p3n”. Moreover, Regarding security questions, be smart in assigning your answer. If your security question is “Who is your favorite pet?” Do not just answer “Bruno”; you can make it “Idonothavepetbruno”.
- Avoid Pirated Mediums and Downloads. Free or royalty free is so good, but it is indeed risky. Do not buy pirated CDs. Despite the fact that some software licenses are very expensive, it is the right thing to do and the safer option. Be careful in downloading unlicensed or leaked files. Also, Make sure that you are downloading from trusted websites. Many of the times you may download a program or an application which may be infected with virus.
Do not be lazy in protecting your computer before it is too late. If your computer is acting weird, for instance, having many pop-ups, taking too slow in opening or shutting down or if you are losing files or some unknown files are being created, then maybe it means you are being attacked with viruses and worms. Take a few minutes or an hour to protect your computer. You are not only protecting your files but also protecting yourself from online theft.