Even though the days of opening up an email and giving your computer a virus are gone, there are still plenty of risks out there for cyberspace users.
Keeping your computer safe is largely about not being naive about what can happen. Even though you may have installed an antivirus program, it doesn’t make you invincible from all threats. You can’t go downloading and clicking on whatever you want. That’s a quick way to ruin your computer and cause a huge headache for everyone.
You don’t have to be a security expert to keep your data safe and it’s largely about following these six steps.
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Install those updates
Nothing is more frustrating than working on something or playing a game only to have your computer decide that now is the perfect moment to update. Your computer promises you it may only be four minutes but it seems like four hours.
While those updates are incredibly annoying, they are vital to the overall safety of your computer. Those updates are largely security updates that are patching potential holes or upgrading the software.
Every now and then, like the April Windows update, it will be an interface change or something you notice. The majority of the time they are incredibly important to your computer.
Download only from trusted sites
Every now and then you’ll have a prompt pop up asking you to download something in order to proceed with the site. Sometimes it’s something as simple as a plug-in to watch a video but other times, it’s not so obvious.
Don’t download anything that isn’t coming from a first-party website. For example, if you’re on Xbox’s website and they ask you to download a tool to link your account, it’s probably OK. If you’re on a website that isn’t directly connected to Xbox and they ask you to download something, it might be worth questioning.
Just be smart and don’t go crazy downloading.
Install a VPN
A VPN, or virtual private network, creates a private browsing tunnel between your internet connection and server. It’s private because no one else can see what you’re doing or monitor your activity.
It’s also a fantastic way to protect your data, stream whatever you want, or change your geographical location.
For those that are on the go and connecting to public WIFI networks on a regular basis, a VPN is a must. It helps keep away any lurking eyes, meaning you can browse in peace and security without having to worry about someone stealing your data.
Use a password manager program
A password manager program will let you keep all of your passwords in one, simple place so you don’t have to remember them all. While it may be tempting to use the same password for all of your accounts, that’s not the case.
These programs will also create strong passwords for you, filled with characters, numbers, and a wide arrange of letters. It’s all stored in an encrypted program so you don’t have to worry about someone hacking your manager.
Keep your data backed up
Not just a good security tip, but a fantastic computer tip overall. No one ever plans to lose all of their photos and documents in the blink of an eye, but it happens even to the best of us.
That’s why you need to make sure you’re keeping all of your important data backed up. This will make it much easier in case of a loss or hard drive failure. Find a service that lets you backup your data to the cloud, making it much easier to use and re-download.
Never give out personal information
One of the more popular scams out there is someone calling from Microsoft/Apple/Big Name Company to tell you there’s an issue with your account or software.
They’ll sound legitimate and real before they start asking you questions about your account and computer. Oftentimes, they are trying to break into your computer and steal whatever information is there.
Never, ever give out any personal or account information over the phone or email. If you do, make sure it’s you that’s calling them, not the other way around. Only speak to trusted, first-party sources or customer service. Remember, it’s all about being smart and ready!