Back Up Your Data
This is actually my first tip because it can really save your butt if anything goes wrong. If your computer falls victim to a virus or malware (or even a dreaded ransomware) then you can easily just reset your computer and start from scratch. You won’t have to worry about losing your valuable data, photos, documents, and videos. These will all be safe. I highly recommend a two pronged data backup strategy. A local backup on a removable hard disk and a cloud based backup. This will give you a local backup for fast access as well as an off site backup in case of an event where your hard drive breaks or gets destroyed or stolen along with your computer. Internet speeds have improved so much and cloud based backup plans are unlimited and very cheap (you can get a great plan from Backblaze for $5). It’s almost a liability NOT to have one. And in my own personal experience, Backblaze saved my butt when my hard drive failed.
Employ Antivirus And Antimalware software
Having an antivirus software program on your computer is an absolute must. If you don’t have that as a bare minimum, you’re really asking for it. I recommend Norton 360 as a lightweight, active protection system. In addition you might want to use an antimalware software program in order to get rid of programs that can subtly slip by Norton because they are acting like legitimate programs. This includes adware and spyware. I had a run-in with the Conduit adware and Spyhunter 4 cleared it right up.
Avoid Internet Bad Neighborhoods
Although even high-profile and secure websites can still fall victim to hacking, most of the time viruses and malware are most prolific in internet bad neighborhoods. These include adult sites, gambling sites, hacking sites, free software and download sites, and torrent sites. It seems that any time you venture over to sites like these you get a virus or some weird infection on your computer. Avoid sites like this altogether, and if you simply must go to them you might want to just get a cheap netbook dedicated to that stuff.
Update Your Software
When you get a notification that a software program has an update available, always do it as soon as you can. Most of the time these software updates are for patching security holes. This is especially true when the update is for your internet browser, Adobe Flash, or any program that you use that connects to the internet. Enabling automatic updates is a great way to not mess this up.
Stay Up To Date
Reading security blogs for the latest in terms of internet and data security is a great way to educate yourself. If you know what to watch out for you’ll have an easier time avoiding things like email phishing scams and other tricks. Once you learn more and more about the patterns that make these things evident you’ll be much better able to identify such things in the future.
Do you have any tips for our readers? Leave a comment below!