Six Ways To Protect Your PC

Six Ways to Protect PC - SMM Summer 2016

Owning a personal computer today comes with challenges such as learning new programs and operating systems. But the greater challenge is protecting yourself from hackers and other types of cybercriminals who try to steal your personal information, infect your computer with a virus or even take over your computer entirely.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help thwart these cybercrimes. Here are six tips from the U.S. government to protect your personal computer.

1. Create strong passwords

The longer the password, the tougher it is to crack. Experts suggest using at least 10-12 characters for most home users. Mix letters, numbers and special characters in an unpredictable way that only makes sense to you. Avoid using your name, birthdate or common words. Avoid using the same password for several accounts.

2. Back up your computer files

Backing up the data on your computer to an external hard drive, a removable disc or some other storage device is a practical way to keep your data safe and backed up if your computer becomes inaccessible or compromised.

3. Check online reviews

Research a company before doing business with it. Do an online search using the business name and add a word such a “reviews,” “complaints” or “scams” to determine its legitimacy, especially before you provide the company with your personal and financial information.

4. Guard your personal data

Keep safe your Social Security number, credit union account numbers, credit card numbers and other personal and financial data. This data, if stolen, can all be used by identity theft thieves to steal your money or open new fraudulent accounts in your name. Treat your personal information like cash and be cautious about giving it out.

5. Shop at secure online sites

If you’re shopping or banking online, stick to websites that use encryption to protect your information as it gets transmitted. Look for the “https” at the beginning of the web address and on every page of the site. It is a sign that the page is encrypted.

6. Use Security Software

Ensure your computers’ security software is automatically updated to protect it against the latest online threats. Out-of-date anti-virus programs may not stop malware from infecting your computers. Remember to buy security software only from reputable businesses, and never from unexpected pop-up messages or emails.

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