How to keep your computer safe from hackers and viruses

With the WannaCry ransomware attack hitting computers across the world and online security becoming an important issue here a few simple yet important tips to stay safe from hackers and viruses online.

1) Set up two-step verification

Two-step verification is a security measure that makes it tougher for hackers to access your online accounts.

Usually, when logging into a service with two-step verification, a unique code will be sent to a ‘trusted device’ of your choosing, which adds an extra layer of security.

2) Schedule your virus scans

It’ll come as no surprise to hear that antivirus software keeps your PC or Mac protected, but you can improve its effectiveness by relying less on manual scans.Most popular antivirus tools support the feature.

3)Software from trusted sources

When installing third-party software on Windows or Mac, you’ll be told if the source is an ‘unidentified developer’. If that’s the case, think twice before downloading.

If you spot an advert that looks suspicious, don’t interact with it at all as some feature a fake ‘X’ or ‘close’ button. A sneaky trick that could catch you out if you’re not too careful.

4) Be wary of Chrome extensions

In the past, we’ve seen malicious software install data-grabbing extensions inside Chrome. If you use Google Chrome as your default web browser, your browser, click Settings , then Extensions . If you don’t see an extension you recognise, select Details to see what information it has access to. Remove it by clicking the bin icon.

5) Know how to spot phishing

Phishing scams impersonate legitimate websites and services to try and get you to give up your personal information.

Often, phishing messages look like they’re from recognisable services you already use. Keep an eye out for blurry or unusual-looking company logos or bad grammar, and study the names listed under ‘To:’ in the email header. Remember, you don’t have to click a link to see where it’ll take you. Hover your mouse over a hyperlink and the target will be listed near the bottom of your screen.

6) Check Your Firewall

If you own a Windows-based system, just go to your control panel and type “firewall” in the search box. If your firewall is “on” or “connected,” then you’re good to go. If you own a Mac, click the Apple icon on your toolbar, go to “system preferences,” then “security,” then “firewall.”

7) Back Up Your Data

Backing up your data protects you in the event of a computer crash or electrical outage or surge, like a lightning storm might produce. It also helps if you fall prey to the newer type of ransomware, which encrypts your sensitive data. You can do your back-up manually by transferring important documents to an external hard drive. 8) Stay Away From Rogue Websites

Spotting a rogue website can be difficult, but there are a few things you can do to hone your skills. Look for a green lock in the address bar and the code prefix “https://” at the beginning of the URL while visiting banking sites, entering your credit card data or accessing your web mail.

9) Avoid Deals That Are Too Good to Be True

If you see a deal for 90% off The Beatles Collection CD, it very well could be a knock off. Even worse, some sites are known to lure customers in with an amazing deal, and once they have your credit card information they’re never to be heard from again.

10) Never Divulge Sensitive Information

No matter what website you’re on be careful of the sensitive information you reveal like credit card details.

11) Use hard-to-guess passwords

Mix upper case, lower case, numbers or other characters not easy to find in a dictionary and make sure they are at least eight characters long. Don’t share your password and don’t use the same password in more than one place.

12)  Disconnect your computer

This lessens the chance that someone will be able to access your computer.

13) Stay updated

Over half of all virus infections don’t have to happen. The solution is simple: enable automatic updates in both Windows and applications.


Sources: 1) 2) 3)  4)

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