Keeping your computer safe and secure is easy. Cleaning up the results of not having the proper protection is difficult. Follow these tips to keep your computer…and your information…safe on the Internet:
- Stay Updated: I hear some people saying “There are too many updates! Updates always mess things up! I skip/turn off updates!” This is a BAD idea. The reason Windows, antivirus software, or any other piece of software updates itself is usually because flaws have been found that hackers can take advantage of. If you put yourself in the right situation with an unpatched security hole in place, you’ve become a victim. Always run updates to any software as soon as it is available. If the updates will not install properly, seek out technical support or professional assistance.
- Watch for Fake Pop-up Windows: The #1 way of contracting a virus today is through pop-up windows designed to look like Windows error messages. You may see something that suddenly appears that says “Warning! Virus detected! Click here to download the cleaner tool!” Once you install this “tool” the software essentially holds your computer hostage — constantly popping up more windows bullying you into paying a fee for the “full version” of the fake software (known as “rogue antivirus”). Avoid this trap by verifying any virus detection directing from your antivirus software…not from a popup window.
- Watch Those Apps!: Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are very popular, making them prime targets for scams. You may be sent invitations to play games, get free items, join clubs or lists, or even get added to a new game. These app requests often collect your information, and sometimes even end up sending themselves to people you know without your knowledge. They can also force things like pornographic advertisements, automatic postings, and spam emails. It is best to avoid installing any social application unless you know exactly what it is for and what it does. You can often do a quick Google search for the name of the app to see what people are saying about it.