Five simple ways to protect yourself

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Five simple ways to protect yourself

Post by The Boss on 2014-08-31, 8:06 pm

Getting software to protect your computer is, unfortunately, a must these days. But before you get there, you can take simple actions to up your protection without any new programs:

1

Keep your software up-to-date
Even if your computer comes off the shelf with a level of protection, threats change daily. So it's imperative you keep it up-to-date or else it's useless.
For Windows 7, just click on "Start", go to Control Panel and click the "Windows Update" icon, where it will show you if there are any updates for your PC. The same goes for users with Windows 8 or XP.
The same goes for dedicated antivirus software. Keep it up-to-date, and do a full system scan once a week.

Users of Apple Macs (and Linux) have slightly less to worry about in terms of viruses, as there still aren't as many floating about for them. Nonetheless, Mac users should grab free antivirus software too.

2

Protect your identity online
With more and more of us using the web to bank online and do other sensitive tasks, coming up with solid passwords is more vital than ever.
It may seem obvious, but don't use the same login for lots of sites. If one falls into the wrong hands, your whole online life is up for grabs. Remembering lots of different ones is tricky, so try picking one and just add a few letters to it related specifically to each site you're logging into.
Ensure you change your passwords frequently. Use a free password generator to get a completely random, but secure password.


3
Switch it off!
Switching your computer off when you aren't using it doesn't just save energy, it stops others accessing it while you're away. At the very least, disconnect your broadband when you don't need the web.

While your PC's on, and after you've been browsing, is a prime time for malware (malicious software) attacks. So switching it off is a good preventative measure.

4

Don't open unknown email attachments
Most web crime still happens via email, so be on guard when checking yours. Don't open any attachments you're not expecting, or click any random links you find in the text.
If you're unsure if a site's legit, whack the name into Google and see what comes up. It may be listed as a bad 'un.

5

Only download software from trusted websites
Looking for a piece of software? Find out which company makes it first and then go to its site to get it, rather than a third party site found via Google. For smaller free or shareware programs, try using big sites such as Download.com, rather than just getting them from anywhere that shows up.
For advanced downloaders (OK, nerds): when using torrents, avoid .exe files wherever possible. If you must tempt fate, make sure they're thoroughly scanned first.
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