Any person with any type of technological device, be this a desktop computer, latptop, tablet or mobile and accesses the internet is vulnerable to having these devices compromised. Unfortunately this is the nature of the internet.
There are people, who I deem are çretins who spend their whole waking hours devising ways and means to hack into people’s devices. What they get out of doing this, is really beyond me, except they seem to get their jollies by breaching others privacy. Other cretins are more sinister – their hacking has the obvious results for them of generating money, by onselling information they have illegally obtained from their hacking endeavours. Both types of cretins as far as I am concerned really should go crawl back under the rocks they came from.
Okay, I’ve vented on my erstwhile opinion of what I really think of hackers. So let’s get to the nitty gritty. How can you ensure your computer is as secure as possible to block the hackers? Fortunately there are some highly reasonable and highly cost effective steps you can implement which won’t cost you the earth or suck up enormous amounts of your time.
Unlike what many thank, computer security is really not rocket science. So let’s take things one step at a time.
Purchase a highly reputable anti virus programme. Okay you might think this is stating the bleeding obvious. You’d be surprised how many people omit this step. They think the security that comes with their computers or devices is enough. Not so. There are a range of highly reputable anti virus programmes on the market and the programmes I personally would recommend, and please opt for the paid versions, are Bitdefender. They also provide a mobile version of Bitdefender for mobiles.
Step 2 :
At the bare minimum download and install the free programme CCleaner. I use the free version. If you want to pay for the paid version go ahead, however the free version is excellent and they regularly update the programme. (Tip: When the programme wants to update, simply click ‘no thanks’ re the option of paying for the programme and you’ll be able to download the current updated version.) CCleaner also provides a mobile version for your mobile.
Install at least 1 anti malware programme. Please avoid thinking that anti virus and anti malware programmes are the same thing. A dedicated anti malware programme like Malware Bytes really concentrates of ensure your computer is safe from malicious malware. Some simply swear by the free version. I prefer the Pro Version as it has more features. Malware Bytes now have a mobile version for people’s mobiles. Another highly reputable programme is Super Anti Spyware – which again I use the free version (after the trial period has finished).
Another programme I recommend you install and regularly run is Wise Care 365. I prefer the paid version and at times they run a special where for a specific price you can obtain the Pro Version for unlimited computers, which is very cost effective.
Now that you have downloaded and installed the above four programmes, the time has come to run them on a regular basis. There is absolutely no point whatsoever having these programme if you have absolutely no intention of regularly running the programmes to clean out the crap in your computer or device. Therefore it is very important that you get into the habit, preferably daily of actually running the programmes.
Tip: I run these programmes whilst I’m having a cuppa and getting ready for the day. As soon as I open my computer I run CCleaner; then I run Wise Care 365 (literally 5 minutes tops); get on the internet to read the news, check emails etc. then run Super Anti Spyware programme whilst I’m having a shower. Hence by the time I’ve undertaken my morning routine I’ve literally run 3 of the programmes, checked that the Bitdefender programme has been updated etc.
Another Tip: Avoid trying to run all the programmes at the same time. This doesn’t work. You must run each programme (with exception of Bitdefender) separately otherwise you’ll get what’s called false positives.
In relation to Malware Bytes, which is running all the time in the background as I have the Pro Version (unlike the free version), I undertake a full custom scan at least once if not twice weekly. Tip: ensure the updates have been undertaken, set up the custom scan, then simply disconnect the internet, and let the scan run whilst you go shopping or whatever. (You don’t require an internet connection to run the full scan once the updates have been undertaken.) Alternatively the last thing in the evening, set the scan up and let it run whilst you have happy dreams in noddy land.
I also run the scans in the evening prior to closing down the computer. However, I could potentially be perceived as being overly computer security conscious.
Installing and running relevant software as outlined above is only half of the equation. Good computer security to block the hackers will also include the following:
- Secure computer password/s which are at a minimum 8 alpha/numeric/symbols. Please avoid what some people in the population do is use their date of birth, 1234556, words like password / admin etc. Choose a phrase and add numbers and symbols to this phrase so that you’ll easily remember it.
- Ensure you do not use your computer password for any of your online accounts; and with your online accounts ensure you use a different password or variation of the main password for each online account.
- Avoid clicking on emails that you have no knowledge of the sender; or from a bank or Paypal. Hackers are known to send phishing emails. Open your Paypal account in your web browser rather than clicking on a link in a Paypal email. Contact your Bank if you receive an email. By the way the ATO and the Police do not send notifications by email!
- Ensure your computer or device drivers are up to date. There are 2 good programmes you can use: Driver Boost which has a free and paid version; Driver Genuis which is a paid version. Either one will do the job; and ensure you back up your drivers regularly, especially after they have been updated.
- Talking of back ups. Back up your data regularly. A very safe and free programme is Macrium Reflect. This is a fabulous programme that if something terrible does happen i.e. a crash etc. you can restore all your data with ease. Also ensure with Windows you create restore points regularly. A lot of situations the restore point alone will get you out of trouble, if not, you can restore everything via Reflect.
- Another very safe and free programme, to enable increased computer health is Auslogics which is a defrag programme. Run this programme fortnightly or at the very least on a monthly basis. It will assist in cleaning a lot of crap out of the computer and enable your computer to load faster.
- Another very safe and free programme, which isn’t about computer or system health is Belarc Advisor. What this programme does is give you a complete print out of your whole computer system, including all programmes installed and their license keys. Hence, if you change computers and you want to reinstall the programmes you have all the license keys in one place. A print of your system is very handy and ensure you store the print out in a safe place. If you’re into installing and uninstalling programmes on a regular basis Belarc Advisor is a must as you will have the most up to date information. The programme will also inform you if you have security updates to do if you have a Windows operating system.
- Lastly but not least – ensure you regularly undertake the Windows updates as they become available. This is incredibly important as Microsoft provide a range of security updates. (Yes, Microsoft can be one pain in the neck, when it comes to their programmes, however, it’s very important you download and install the latest updates.) Microsoft normally release their updates on a monthly basis however with Windows 10 these days these updates can come at any time, hence, best to check on a weekly basis (either Friday or Saturday) whether they’ve released more updates to be downloaded and installed.
Whilst this has been rather a long article, I hope you have a much clearer idea on what you can do to maintain the security of your computer or device. Beat the Hackers by keeping your computer or device as secure as you can. If you want to know more and see what others are recommending, CLICK HERE
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