Anyone can be the victim of a cybercrime, no matter what type of device they’re using or the setup they have in place. However, it is possible to greatly limit the chances of becoming a victim by learning more about safe behavior and protective tools.
Take a look at this list of steps that PC owners can take to protect themselves from hackers and other cybersecurity threats.
How to Secure a PC Against Cyber Attacks?
1. Use a Firewall
Both Windows and macOS operating systems already come with firewalls installed, and so don’t need any additional software. However, make sure the firewall is turned on and up to date.
People who use work PCs may need to consult their employer to see which software they’re using because this may be part of a business package. Those who use other operating systems like Linux will have to make sure they install their firewall software.
2. Install an Antivirus
Again, Windows owners don’t need to worry about finding an adequate antivirus program for their computers as Windows Defender does the job well. Those who want to switch to a different antivirus program should make sure that they’re using legitimate software – as there are plenty of scams out there.
Something that operating systems and even business packages don’t generally come with is anti-spyware software. This tool works similarly to antivirus software but protects users from spyware programs that may reside on websites, in emails, and downloads.
3. Keep the OS and Software Up to Date
Operating systems and other software need to receive regular updates to fix problems and potential security holes. These updates are incredibly important but cannot help the user if they don’t install them.
Set up the software to automatically download updates where possible – operating systems usually have this enabled already. If an app doesn’t support automatic downloads, then regularly check for the latest version and update it manually when needed.
4. Use Secure Network Connections
Naturally, hackers use a PC’s online connection to get into the computer’s folders and drives. The key is to make the effort of finding a way in too difficult for them to bother. One of the best ways to do that is by having a secure network, which many people lack. It’s also why the IoT is such a problem, and DDOS attacks are still a headache.
Tools like firewalls can only help so much, which is why a VPN is also necessary – to add another layer of protection. VPNs (virtual private networks) use strong encryption methods and reroute the connection to ensure that outsiders can’t get in. The top-tier VPNs, like NordVPN, also provide a host of other features, so check out some reviews before choosing one. If you are looking for a great VPN, then you can learn more by reading this NordVPN review.
5. Encrypt Drives and Back Up Important Files
Many people use their PCs for work or store important personal information on them. No one wants strangers digging around in that information, which is why drive encryption is a good idea. Encrypted drives can only be accessed by the person who has the key – so even if the computer is stolen or compromised, the criminal won’t get a thing.
Even so, make sure to always back up important files in case they get lost through theft or a corrupted drive. Either back them up on an external drive that can be kept somewhere safe or on a secure cloud server.
6. Manage Passwords
Passwords are one of the most contentious topics in cybersecurity. They’re the first line of defense for devices and accounts, but poor security habits are also incredibly unsafe. Passwords are still a solid method of authentication, however, people should manage them correctly.
Always use a different password for every account and make sure they can’t be easily guessed. No, “ILoveStarWars14” isn’t a good option for a password. If needed, get a password manager – but stick to reputable ones!
7. Be Aware of What Counts as Risky Behavior
Online phishing scams are more prevalent than ever and harder to detect. Try to keep up with the latest advice around what shady behavior looks like, and remember to not engage with suspicious messages or emails. Don’t download from untrustworthy websites, and don’t click on a link sent by a stranger.
Cybercrime is at an all-time high, and everyone must be aware of the risks they face. More than that, people should know what they can do to stay safe. Don’t ever think that there isn’t anything stored on a PC, or in any accounts linked to that computer, that an attacker won’t want.
Any information they can use to either get into other accounts, blackmail someone, or conduct identity theft is valuable to them. Don’t underestimate the zeal of internet trolls and webcam spies, either.
Hardeep has always been a Windows lover ever since she got her hands on her first Windows XP PC. She has always been enthusiastic about technological stuff, especially Artificial Intelligence (AI) computing. Before joining PC Error Fix, she worked as a freelancer and worked on numerous technical projects.