Over the past few decades, we’ve seen many technological advancements. In fact, the advancements have been so quick that even tech-savvy individuals can end up falling by the wayside. I speak from experience.
There is a downside to this technological growth speed, though. Hackers. People who create malicious software in order to inflict harm against users. Sometimes, the malicious software is made to steal valuable information, like credit card numbers. It’s always a pain in the butt when you have to deal with such an experience.
Keep yourself protected with these easy tips on how to thwart most hacking attempts. Some effort and learning may be required, but you’ll thank yourself in the long run.
Install Protective Software
While firewalls and antivirus software sound important, they are not 100% effective. Antivirus software in particular is a reactionary defense, meaning it can protect against known infections, but there will always be new and improved versions of a virus that can bypass even the most up-to-date defenses.
There are 2 main types of protective software when it comes to Internet safety – network firewalls and antivirus software. A firewall is something that protects your private network from being accessed by an outsider. Antivirus software protects your personal computer from malicious infections.
Here are some awesome security tools that you should know about.
Update Your Operating System
When companies like Microsoft and Apple release newer versions of their operating systems, they aren’t just adding new features and improving aesthetics. One of the big selling points of having the latest operating system is that security vulnerabilities are patched.
Again, no operating system will ever be 100% exploit-proof. However, you can greatly increase your protection against malicious attacks by patching to the latest versions when available. The Microsoft patches can be accessed via Windows Update (or in the case of Vista and Windows 7, via your Start Menu).
Avoid Shady & Unreliable Websites
There are some sites that you know you can trust simply because they are owned and operated by a reliable and reputable company. For example, you know that a website like CNN or MakeUseOf wouldn’t try to install malware on your computer. However, there are some sites that would. Try to avoid visiting websites that you are unfamiliar with.
If you want to visit a site but aren’t sure of its reputability, you can use a service like Web of Trust. Web of Trust will rate websites based on certain criteria and tell you how trustworthy they are based on user experiences.
At the end of the day, you should never click on any links that you do not trust fully.
Avoid Unsolicited Email Attachments
If you’re using email in this day and age, you likely have some sort of filter set up to whisk away those pesky spam emails. Gmail will do this for you by default. However, sometimes an email will get past the filters and you’ll be none the wiser.
The best course of action would be to refrain from even opening unsolicited emails. However, for sure, you should never open an email attachment if you don’t know the person sending it. Even if you do know the person, you shouldn’t open an attachment if you weren’t expecting it – sometimes viruses propagate by hijacking an email address and spreading to their contacts.
Opening a malicious email can infect your system without your knowledge or permission. Then, before you know it, your computer crashes and won’t boot up. Or something like that. Just avoid opening unsolicited emails and you’ll be good to go.
Never Leave Your Computer Unattended
This is more of a common sense suggestion than the previous tips, but it’s still important. Never leave your computer unattended, especially if you’re in a public place.
First of all, if you’re alone in public, then someone might steal your computer. But even if they don’t, they could play a prank on you and visit a shady site on your browser. Friends and family can be equally likely to play a prank on your computer.
At the very least, lock your screen. If you don’t want to do that, then take it with you! Try not to leave your computer in a vulnerable location where anyone could fool around with it (or take it).
What tips would you recommend for protection against a computer hacker? Let us know in the comments.