Having a computer, or access to one, is very common in this day and age. Most households have either a desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone for each member of their family. But because of the familiarity, many people do not realize the risks that a computer presents.
Computers are storage houses for information. Banking, work and even personal information is stored in program files. If someone had access to that information, your identity and credit could be at risk. And if that isn’t enough, your computer could be hacked to run background programs that can be used to attack other computers without you even knowing.
To keep your computer and data safe, it’s a good idea to have some sort of internet security education. This basic education can guide you to help keep your computer safe from harm. Here are a few steps to keeping yourself safe:
Your firewall is your first line of defense against hackers and identity theft. It’s a security device in your network, usually run through your router, modem or both, that monitors ingoing and outgoing traffic to your computer. When an unauthorized traffic signal comes in, the firewall automatically blocks it.
Virus scans are your second barrier. These are programs that are downloaded onto your computer to that look for programs that can harm your computer. Some are subscription services and some are free. Virus scans should be updated at least once a week and your entire computer should be scanned regularly.
Passwords protect against data theft. You should have a different password for each and every site or program that you use. This is a very important step in keeping your data safe because if you use the same password for several sites and someone steals your password, the hacker will then have access to any site that login is used.
Lastly, use common sense when surfing the internet. Do not click on pop-ups that appear on the screen. Even when you click “X” on a pop-up, you could still activate a virus program. Right click from your taskbar to close out those items. If you get an email or instant message from a friend or family member that seems suspicious, send them a message to see if they sent it on purpose. Do not share private information or passwords in chats or without confirming the source.