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In this day and age, having the right protection for your all of your devices is so important. Viruses and malware are around just about every corner, and falling victim to any type of cyber attack can be serious. Hackers are looking for new and creative ways to steal your personal and confidential information.
Today, I’m going to talk about several ways you can protect your devices from potential attacks. As a blogger who uses several devices every day, I understand the importance of protecting myself, and feel that it’s very valuable information to share with all of you too.
1. Install Antivirus Software
No PC or device should ever go without having antivirus software installed. Good antivirus software locates, isolates, and destroys potential malware and prevents theft of personal information. There are many free antivirus programs available on the internet today. My favorite has always been AVG Antivirus. AVG’s free antivirus software includes real-time security updates, scans for malware and PC performance issues, and stops malicious downloads even before they reach your PC. AVG also has a free antivirus app for your device. By far, it’s the best antivirus app for Android.
2. Download from Trusted Sites
One major rule I always follow is to only download files from sites I trust. Downloading files from sites without encryption increases your risk of downloading viruses onto your device. Check your security settings inside your browser and make sure they are set high enough to prevent unauthorized downloads.
Never open files from unknown sources. Many phishing scams today are designed to fool unsuspecting victims into clicking on links and entering in personal information on phony websites. If you don’t know the sender, don’t download the files or click on links in the email.
3. Use Strong Passwords
I know it’s really tempting to use a password that is easy to remember, but with today’s technology, it’s becoming easier and easier for cyber thieves to hack into devices. Always use a complex password that only you can remember, and never use words or phrases that are easy for others to guess. Many security companies also recommend not using the same password for multiple sites. It is also recommended to add in special characters (such as @ # ! &) and change letter case to make hacking difficult.
4. Keep Software Updated
Most PCs and other devices have settings that allow for automatic software updates. Keeping software updated helps reduce or eliminate the risk of potential vulnerabilities. Be sure to enable update notifications in your PC’s settings to ensure you are downloading and installing the latest software versions. If you haven’t already, go in to your Windows security settings and turn ON automatic updates. Microsoft is always strengthening its software to be resistant to viruses and malware, so staying in sync with the latest updates will ensure your OS is as protected as possible.
5. Disable Image Previews in Outlook
If you use Microsoft Outlook, disabling image previews can prevent unwanted viruses and malware from downloading to your PC. Most newer versions of Outlook will come have this setting set as default. But, if you’ve happened to disable this feature on your own in the past, simply going back to your security settings and enabling it will turn the feature back on.
If you happen to use another email client other than Outlook such as Thunderbird, there are similar security settings that will give you the same result.
6. Visit Only Trusted Websites
If you are a web surfer who clicks on every link and goes to every website imaginable, you are opening your device up to malware and other viruses. I make it a point to only go to websites I know are safe and have implemented proper security settings. Never attempt to enter in personal information or make a purchase from a site with which you aren’t familiar. Smart surfing can heavily prevent hacking and viruses.
7. Protect Your WordPress Site
Like other sites and software, WordPress is not immune to hacking attempts. Unfortunately, I’ve experienced a hacking attempt into Go Ask Your Daddy’s WordPress site in the past. I didn’t have any plugins installed to protect my site, but did have a daily backup plugin installed which saved a YEAR’S worth of blood, sweat, and tears!
Fortunately, numerous security plugins are available for WordPress. Some popular ones include:
- Bulletproof Security
- Sucuri Security
- iThemes Security
- Acunetix WP Security Scan
Plugins aren’t the only way to protect your WordPress site from hacking attempts. One common known hacking attempt among cyber thieves is that most people don’t change their user name from ‘admin.’ If you are still logging into your WordPress site using ‘admin’ as the user name, you’ve already given thieves half of what they need to access your entire site.
Another way to keep WordPress secure is to keep the software updated. You can tell there’s a new version as soon as you log into your admin area. There will be a link to download the updated version. Be sure to back up your site before installing, removing, or updating WordPress. Along with the WordPress software itself, keep themes and plugins also updated. If there are any themes or plugins you no longer use, remove them from your WordPress site.
8. Use a Firewall
Many people think they don’t need a firewall if they have an antivirus program installed. This is definitely a mistake, and one you don’t want find out about should someone hack into your computer. Both Windows and Mac operating systems come with their own built-in firewall. Go to your security settings and ensure the firewall is enabled. If you ever need to disable it, be sure it’s only temporary. Running a PC without a firewall enabled increases the chance your data could be compromised.
9. Back Up Your Computer
Have you ever lost everything on your computer and didn’t have a backup? System components fail – even in the most expensive, highest quality computers. There is no feeling like knowing your information is gone forever and you didn’t back it up. Both Windows and Mac PCs have built-in automatic backup applications. I also recommend using third-party apps to save files – such as Microsoft OneDrive. System recovery features are now standard on just about any newer computer, so take advantage as soon as you take the computer out of the box.
10. Download Spyware Removal Apps
One of the largest threats to computers is spyware. You will know you probably have Spyware if you start experiencing annoyances such as a large amount of random pop ups and your browser keeps redirecting you to inappropriate websites. Malware Bytes’ Anti-Malware and Spybot Search and Destroy are two very common and very reliable Spyware removal apps.
Protect Your Identity
It’s never too late to protect your identity from identity thieves just looking for an opportunity to steal all of your personal information. Signing up with a trusted identity protection company can help prevent identity theft. Today‚ Identity Guard’s award-winning services offer comprehensive solutions that extend beyond the basics — they also help protect your financial information‚ personal data‚ computer, privacy and much more.