Internet security advice
The internet has been hailed as one of the greatest inventions of the 21st century. Thanks to this useful technology, you can work, shop and keep in touch with your friends without ever leaving the comfort of your home.
However, the internet also has a dark side. There are all manner of nasty threats lurking about in cyberspace, from hackers and identity thieves to viruses and malware. Any of these threats pose a serious risk to both your computer and the personal information stored therein. It is therefore advisable to put in place measures to safeguard your online security.
Internet security and all it entails can be a confusing business, especially to silver surfers (senior citizens) who are vulnerable to attacks by malicious computer viruses and anonymous hackers. Viruses are malicious, rogue computer programs that can infect your computer, damaging your files or slowing down your machine. Other viruses also spy on your internet activity and later send valuable data, such as credit card information or passwords, to their operators.
In order to beat viruses, you need to learn ways to secure your information as well as your computer. Some of the best ways to address this issue are covered below:
Purchase and install quality security software
In order to keep your computer safe, you will need to install security software. This includes an antivirus, anti-spyware and a firewall. Antivirus software will search for and remove viruses and other malware from your machine while the anti-spyware software will prevent programs that track your activities and spy on you from installing themselves on your computer. Firewall software forms a barrier between your computer and the internet, blocking viruses and unauthorised persons from gaining access to your machine.
You can choose to download this software from the internet or you can opt to buy them from a computer store. Alternatively, you can purchase a comprehensive security suite containing all three software in one package. If you are unsure on how to install the security programs on your machine, get a qualified professional to help you.
Keep your computer updated
About half of all the computers running operating systems that have not been updated are infected with malicious software soon after connecting to the internet. Updating your computer’s operating system, as well as its security software, gives you stronger protection against viruses. Manufacturers of these operating systems constantly release new updates to make them more secure.
You can set your computer to automatically download the updates from the internet. Alternatively, you can manually download and install the updates for yourself. If your computer operates on Windows, you can use Windows Update to download the updates while software updates for Mac OS can be found on the Mac App Store.
Practice safe surfing
While surfing, shopping or banking online, you should ensure you are using a safe website before entering any personal details. Some viruses, such as the Heartbleed bug, are specifically tailored to allow attackers to mine usernames and passwords of clients on various sites. For this reason, you should always conduct transactions through reputable and trustworthy websites that go to great lengths to protect their clients’ information.
Furthermore, you ought to be careful when downloading files or opening email attachments as these could contain viruses. Always verify that such files are secure before saving them on your computer.
Use strong passwords
A password acts as a key to your information. The stronger the password, the harder it is to crack. When choosing passwords, avoid using family or pet names, dates of birth or other information that can be easily deciphered. You should instead opt for strong passwords that are a combination of small and capital letters, numbers and non-alphabetic symbols such as #, & or @. Change your passwords regularly and ensure that you use different passwords for different websites. This minimises loss of information in case one of your passwords is hacked.
To further enhance your security when surfing the internet, you need to be alert and careful in all your dealings. Remember that scammers will use several tricks to try and trap you, so seek assistance whenever you are in doubt about anything online. Additionally, make sure you have backed up all your important documents, preferably to an external hard drive. This way none of your files will be lost in case of any computer mishap.
While the internet has a multitude of uses, it is also a safe haven for malicious software and crooks. By taking all the precautions outlined in this article, you will have made great strides towards boosting your internet security and making yourself a less vulnerable target online.
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