How to Secure Personal Data on your Computer
Protect your digital world from harmful, unwelcome intrusions by ensuring multimedia files and documents stay private once you’ve saved them on your PC or laptop. Think of this essential security software as a deadbolt for your computer’s front door, which in this case, leads to your computer’s hard drive and personal data. Get started on securing personal info with these basic tips to prevent intrusions and infections from stealing critical computer files and passwords.
1. Install and update virus and spyware protection regularly
No one’s perfect so even the most tech-savvy web user isn’t immune to viruses. Anyone can download corrupt files or malware, or unwittingly fall victim to phishing email messages or links, or even identity-stealing scams. Once a virus infects your computer, it can hobble your processing speed and delete important files, or worse, cause irreparable damage. Your best defence is to install and update your anti-virus software, most of which offer complete protection from viruses, spyware and spam.
2. Don’t open files sent to you by strangers or click hyperlinks or download programs from people you don’t know.
Viruses often come from questionable files, so it goes without saying that your second-best defence besides an anti-virus software is to not click on that suspicious link. Granted, viruses can pretend to be something they’re not, like a counterfeit anti-virus software or a bogus email from a friend who unknowingly “sent” the message. Err on the side of caution and don’t get blindsided by that suave website or too-good-to-be-true spam email.
3. Make sure your computer operating system can patch.
Computer operating systems, like Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X and Chrome OS, release updates to their software, “patches” to download and vulnerability alerts. It’s important to apply these patches, like turning on automatic updates, in order to fix any system defects or flaws that leave the door open for malware to swoop in. These patches vary from a few kilobytes to hundreds of megabytes, and could attend to defects in web browsers, image viewers, media players and more.
4. Use a firewall, especially if you use a high-speed internet connection.
Another way to shield your digital “home” is by installing a firewall. You can think of it as a high electric fence or thick, concrete wall between your computer and the internet because it bars external threats, such as hackers, viruses or worms, from entry. A firewall can be a software program, sometimes already built-in and turned on by default in some operating systems, or a piece of hardware.