How to Start Better Protecting Your Computers

computer-security
We are coming up on a new year, which means it might be time to start thinking about beefing up security on your computer systems. It seems like a waste to some, but almost every client I get realizes that they waited too long before taking charge and it caused them headaches they could have avoided. If you own a business, or just use computers at home, add these steps to your New Year’s Resolutions to make yourself more protected against the many security threats out on the internet.

Run a Full Security Scan
When was the last time you ran a full AV scan on your computer? While you are reading this, open your Antivirus program, update it, and run a full scan. Many people will configure a set time for their Security program to run but will turn their computer or laptop off which the security program will miss. Make it a habit to load your AV software and see when the last scan was ran. It might surprise you that it has been a while. Don’t have an AV program? This leads to my next point.

Invest in a Good Antivirus Program
If you run Windows and get on the internet, you should have an Antivirus program. I tell all my clients this. A good AV program can help keep the bad guys out. There are many to choose from, some free and some that have a yearly charge. Everyone also has their personal favorite. You never know when clicking the wrong link or even going to a legitimate website can send you down the wrong path and get a virus on your computer that could affect everything with your PC. If you think you have a virus, first thing to do is to take the computer off the network and let a professional look at it. They will be able to help back up your files and take care of the virus.

Configure Your Wireless Router Security
Sitting at my house and scanning for a wireless access point shows lots of options. A few are even open. This means I can connect to their internet, download whatever I want to use their bandwidth, even hack into their files quite easily. It’s important to configure your wireless router with a strong password, and require a password to be entered to access your internet. Even if you never plan on having wireless at your location, a wireless router serves many more purposes and can help filter unneeded traffic to your computers.

Set Your Automatic Updates
You buy an Antivirus that must download its new definitions on a daily basis, yet the updates section wasn’t set up correctly. Or Microsoft releases a patch that can help stop certain software from harming your computer. Yet your updates are not configured and you don’t get the update notice. Most software now gives you the option to set up automatic updates. While businesses tend to shy away from this because it could break certain software, I believe all home users should set this up. Adobe is famous for having their software (like Adobe Reader) hacked or used as a way to gain access to computers that have it installed. Which is why I always load Foxit Reader instead of Adobe Reader.

Re-configure All Your Passwords With Stronger Options
Pretty much sums it up in the title. Doing a quick Google Search can find all sorts of password cracking tools that will run words out of the dictionary to try and “guess” what the password was set as. Use a strong password for everything you do on the computer. Example: 32B1nAna$

Start a Backup of Your Important Documents
Lastly, clients bring me their computers or I go to them and come across a failed hard drive. It happens and it is highly sporadic. They then regret not backing up their family pictures, or music collection, or folder full of school documents. Invest in an external hard drive and some backup software to automatically back up the important files to another drive. This is especially true in a business environment, but also equally as important when almost everyone uses a camera with a SD card which they load onto their computer and wipe the card.

originally written for perryspcrepair.com

Michael

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