Keeping Your Computer Safe

Computers have been able to provide us with the means of doing so much, but like us, they’re vulnerable to infections, often that come from hackers or 3rd party websites. Use these easy tips to ensure that your computer is as safe as possible while still being able to use it effectively.

  1. Firewalls

Firewalls act as a barrier between your computer and the internet. It effectively closes ports that block contact with your router. This protects your computer by preventing threats from entering and spreading between devices. It can also help prevent data from leaving your computer. If your device ports are unsecured, just about any threat can find its way in. That’s terrible if it’s hacker-sent malware. Although ports can be closed manually, a firewall serves as a basic protection to close all ports. The firewall will only open ports as needed to trusted applications and external devices.

If your operating system has a firewall (e.g. onward Windows XP), simply enable the built-in firewall. In Windows, navigating to Control Panel > System and Security can find this. You may choose to download an additional firewall as a security layer, or if your OS doesn’t already have one.  Such firewalls are computer firewalls. There’s a second type of hardware firewall. While these can be purchased separately, they often fit into home routers.

  1. Updates

While software and security updates often seem like an annoyance, staying on top of them is really important. Besides adding additional features, they often cover security holes, meaning that the OS and application vendor has discovered bugs that offer attackers the ability to exploit the system or even the entire device. Normally, if your OS has an update, you will receive a notification. You may often choose to download automatically or set it up later.  Some software running on your machine may have bugs, such as the suite you use for Aussie online bingo games. If updates have become available, you may see a window launching the app.

Another thing to watch out for is a fake update. Hackers can use these to convince you to click a link or enter credentials. You can avoid falling prey to these by researching the software company’s latest updates. Check the latest version to see if the message you got makes sense.

  1. Antivirus

Any virtual computer is potentially vulnerable to viruses and other threats, including malware, ransomware, and Trojan attacks. Antivirus software isn’t a fully fool proof solution, but it can help. There are free options out there, but they’re limited, and besides, paid programs won’t put you back a lot. Spyware is a specific type of malware employed to secretly infect a computer. It sits in the system, collects information, and sends it to a third party. Typically, information is sensitive, such as credentials or banking information.

You have adware (often triggering popups), Trojans (posing as harmless software), and device controls (such as key loggers), all of which pose a very serious threat. Certain types of spyware, such as tracking cookies, are usually harmless albeit. Luckily, most antivirus applications have built-in anti-spyware, but specialized implementations exist. If you’ve discovered spyware on your computer, then you can delete it.