7 PC Security Practices to Safeguard Your Personal Info

There are many threats to your computer’s security. Don’t wait for an attack to strike: protect your computer with the best antivirus software you can find. Good PC security practices ensure that your personal information remains safe. Learn how these 7 PC security tips can help.

1. Remove or Disable Java

Java is a massive security risk, especially when it is not updated correctly. Because of the security holes regularly discovered and exploited, the program sees many updates and it’s very easy to neglect installing the latest version. Because it’s such a security risk even if properly updated, the best response is to simply disable Java from your system entirely.

If you know that you need Java on your computer, make sure to disable the plug-in in your browser to help keep your files and system safe. You might also consider using the best antivirus program available to help keep your information safe.

2. Don’t Ignore or Disable the Firewall

If you’re using a version of Windows operating system, then your computer already has a firewall installed. Instead of disabling it, consider taking the time to correctly configure it: a correctly set up firewall is an effective tool against unwanted or unknown incoming network connections. This makes it very useful against threats like worms, which use un-patched security holes in applications and system services connected to the network to infect your computer.

Fortunately, it is very simple to correctly configure the Windows firewall. Simply select the correct answer from the choices of work, home, or public network when the option pops up (this tends to happen whenever you connect to a new network for the first time). Simply choosing the appropriate option helps ensure that unknown incoming network connections are blocked.

3. Use Antivirus Protection

The first step for ensuring that your computer is safe from security holes and other threats is simple: use an antivirus program. While being careful about what links you click on and what sites you visit is a good idea, caution alone will not protect your computer from the latest vulnerabilities. Virus protection for your PC is an important addition to security that will help protect it against all threats, so consider using the best antivirus software you can find. Use antivirus software that rapidly adapts to the newest risks and helps keep your computer safe.

4. Install Software Updates

Installing software updates can seem like a tedious process, however it’s important that you make sure all of your applications and programs are consistently kept up-to-date. Think of updates as improvements: software updates are typically released in order to fix known security risks, among other issues. Not installing the update leaves your system vulnerable to threats.

Consider allowing Windows Update to either install updates automatically, or to notify you of updates (which you should then install as soon as possible).

5. Be Cautious and Proactive

Use common sense and do your research! The vast majority of system infections come from users installing untrusted and questionable software. If you’re contemplating installing a new program, take the time to investigate it beforehand: look around for reviews and ensure that you’re installing the software from its official website, not a third party site (it’s too easy for someone to upload malware instead of the program you’re interested in). If you ever do click on a download link anywhere other than the official website, make sure that the link hasn’t directed you to a different webpage.

Something else to watch out for is executables that install third-party software. These programs might contain a screen halfway through the install process that looks like a user agreement, but is actually the agreement to installing a random toolbar, for example. Third-party installations such as these can (and usually do) contain malware.

6. Use Unique Passwords

Don’t reuse passwords and usernames. If you use a single username and password combination for your various online accounts, you are putting yourself at risk. A single security leak at any one of those websites could mean that ALL of your accounts are at risk. If your username is your email address (or you use the same password for your email, too), then the situation is even more dire because now potential attackers can access your private email address (and use it to gain access to anything it’s linked to). Always use a unique password, at the very least, and make the password a secure one: consider using a password with both upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters (such as @ * or !).

7. Avoid Pirated Files or “Cracked” Software

Another big security risk is using pirated programs, has often been tampered with, and may install malware on your computer. The best idea is simply to avoid software that isn’t legally acquired. Make sure to use the best antivirus software, to keep your computer and personal information safe.

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Written by:
Sandra is a computer networking and security specialist. She is a CISCO certified professional having a flair and expertise in writing about varied topics related to the same. Sandra has written several actionable contents that are extremely handy in addressing cyber security-related concerns.
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