Protecting Your Computer
In 1984, the U.S. Census Bureau first started asking about computer use and only 8% of American households had a computer. In contrast, today over 75% of American households have a computer. Clearly computers are common and everyone seems to know that they are vulnerable to attacks. However, computer users often don’t protect their computers, which can lead to someone’s personal information being compromised.
Don’t be caught off-guard. Instead follow these tips for safe computing:
- Use protective software. Anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall software can do a great deal to protect you. Once you install this software, don’t turn it off and update it regularly.
- Keep your software up to date. It’s not enough to update your anti-virus software. Other programs are vulnerable too. Use auto-update features where you can.
- Update your operating system too. Like software, your operating system (i.e., Windows or Mac OS) has vulnerabilities that updates can fix.
- If you’re not using the webcam, cover it. A camera could be turned on without your knowledge allowing a hacker to watch you. The easiest way to protect yourself against this is to grab a post-it note and cover your camera.
- Turn your computer off when you’re not using it. If a hacker did manage to make a connection to your computer, they can’t take advantage of that connection if your computer is off.
- Protect your computer physically. For example, if you have a laptop, never leave it unattended. That goes for public places but also for hotel rooms and the like.
- Back up often. If your computer is compromised, you’ll be grateful that you have a copy of all of your important files. An external hard drive can be used to store all of your data in a separate location.
- Dispose of your computer properly. Getting rid of your computer can be dangerous because just deleting your files is not enough. You have to erase the hard drive altogether to make your information unable to be recovered.
While there is no foolproof way to protect your computer, taking these steps can reduce your chances of falling victim to an attack.