How many times have you despaired and wanted to get rid of your computer because it starts to fail, won’t let you use a program or is extremely slow? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, these situations occur quite often due mainly to our often naive behaviour on the Internet.
Our behaviour on the net can end up costing us in the form of viruses or computer attacks that prevent us from using some functions, delete stored information or files or even violate our privacy.
There is no magic formula to eliminate the risk of this happening, but we can follow some recommendations that can considerably reduce the chances of “infection” of our device.
As we did for mobile phones, today we give you 10 essential security tips to keep your computer protected. Although these suggestions are indicated for devices using Windows, the most used operating system and also the most exposed to threats, they can be extrapolated to other systems such as Linux or MacOS.
Have an antivirus and keep it updated
This is probably the most important recommendation. It is essential to have a good antivirus and antipysware to help protect your device against threats such as Trojans, spyware…
Although this tool is not a 100% secure shield against the most dangerous viruses, it is most effective against low and medium level attacks, which are otherwise the most widespread. Remember that for it to work properly, like the rest of the applications or programs you have installed on your computer, the antivirus must be updated periodically.
Update the software periodically
This is another piece of advice that should be followed to the letter.
Although we are often reluctant to update our software because of laziness or even ignorance, we must understand that the out-of-date of this one means greater vulnerability, since normally the last versions imply greater protection and the solution of failures of previous versions.
Therefore, it is a great idea to have applications that check if there are updates available for our software and recommend us to download them.
Use strong passwords and change them periodically
Although we often despair that passwords must contain uppercase, lowercase, numbers and symbols and must have at least some characters, there is an explanation for these requirements. The more difficult the password is, the more secure it is. In this sense, it is important that we use secure passwords in those applications that require them, especially those that contain confidential personal information.
In addition, it is advisable not to use the same password in all our accounts, since any identity theft in one of them could mean unlimited access to all the others.
Beware of attachments and strange links in emails
Be wary of strange or unknown emails, especially if they contain links or attachments, is another indispensable piece of advice. Moreover, if an email seems suspicious, even if it comes from someone you know, it is always advisable to make sure it is safe by consulting directly with the person who sent it.
In most operating systems there are applications to analyze our email and rule out possible threats.
Disconnect the Internet when not needed
Most infections occur when the device is connected to the network, as the malware performs its actions by communicating with servers or sending information using open ports in your connection.
Therefore, disconnecting your Wi-Fi connection when you are using the computer for other purposes and also before turning it off is recommended.
Avoiding private operations on public and open networks
It seems like obvious advice, but the reality is that we have sometimes been forced to use a public network for operations that put confidential information and data at risk, as is the case with banking transactions.
On these occasions it is advisable to share the connection but not the data. If, due to an emergency, you find yourself having to compromise your personal information and there is a possibility of using more secure servers, do so.
Check the security of the Wi-Fi network used
This recommendation is very much linked to the previous one and that is that, just as we should try to avoid public networks when we perform certain actions, we should also keep in mind to review the security of our usual network at home.
In this sense, although wireless networks are increasingly popular, in terms of security wired networks are preferable.
Close session when finished
Although it’s true that it’s much more comfortable to keep our sessions open in most applications, since that way we don’t have to put our username and password back every time we want to enter, this is not a very good idea.
We should get used to logging out, even more so on shared computers, especially in applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Gmail… It wouldn’t be the first time someone has seen their identity stolen or their personal data stolen for leaving a session open.
Did you ever stop to think what would happen if you lost all the contents of your computer? Sometimes, the action of a virus, malicious users or simply by failures in the operating system, we can lose photos, files, confidential information.
Therefore, making backups is a great idea and will save us more than once. Having an external hard drive with a backup or uploading what we consider indispensable to the cloud is a good preventive measure.
Teach those who share a computer with us and create different users
Caring for the safety of our devices is an attitude that we must instill in those who share it with us. It is always good to explain basic security concepts and behaviors to these people, since the more informed they are, the less they will be exposed to the network. In this sense, it is a good practice to create different users on the same computer, and for each person to use his or her own.
Following these recommendations can help reduce the threats to which both novice and experienced users are exposed. But also, remember that you can always ask for help from a professional who will advise you in the world of security and privacy on the Internet.