Keeping your computer secure online requires more than just an anti-virus program. There are many threats on the internet which may seem friendly, however they end up harming your computer and invading your privacy. Here are a few ways you can keep you and your computer safe day-to-day:
Keep your computer secure by updating all programs and applications
Keeping your computer updated is very crucial to keeping your computer secure online. It is not only Windows or Mac OS X that needs to be updated regularly. Other third party applications such as Sun Java, Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime, and many more require regular updates to patch security holes. In general, it is a good practice to update all of your software as regularly as possible. Updates contain security patches along with other new features you may find useful.
Stay aware of what you are installing when updating programs
While installing and updating all software, it is important to pay attention to each screen you are clicking through to avoid installing potentially unwanted programs (PUPs). There may be PUPs which companies attach to installations as a way to profit through advertisements. The most notorious of these all is Sun Java, which includes the Ask Toolbar by default as an add-on each time you update. Java is an important third party tool used online, and Ask.com advertisers often lead to PUP installations causing your computer to not be secure online.
Claims that say your computer needs updating or repairs
Even though it is very important to keep third party applications and operating systems updated, be aware of fake ads which will tell you your computer needs to be updated or needs maintenance. These ads will appear as pop-ups when you are browsing online. It is important to remember that when these applications need to be updated, you will get a notification from the taskbar, or the program itself will pop up. There will be no address bar, or any option to go to a different address. Find out more here to find out how to avoid installing junk programs.
Avoid FREE stuff online
There are many websites online which advertise free tools for your computer such as CNET Downloads and Download.com. Try to avoid these websites to keep your computer secure online and other similar “FREE” downoads if possible. Many other fake advertising claims such as these FREE programs will include other third-party programs which are malicious to your computer. Download installation files directly from the manufacturer website if possible to avoid making this mistake.
Do not log into websites from unknown links
Many hackers send a link to victims which then require them to log-in to a popular website, this tactic is called “Phishing” and can easily be avoided to stay secure online. When you log-on to a website be sure to check the address URL to make sure you are signing into the correct website. Find out more information on how attackers use phishing scams and how to avoid them on ESET, they have an excellent infographic on this information.
Watch out for unknown browser extensions
While keeping your computer secure online it is important to consider internet browser “extensions” also called “plug-ins”. Just like other Free programs and fake system pop-ups, hackers and malicious people will attempt to install a browser extension which will hijack your experience online. These plug-ins have the potential to track your every move online, make pop-up ads appear, and change your search engine preferences.
Turn on file extensions
We recommend that each computer user turns on file extensions. File extensions are the short string of letters and numbers after a file name such as “.png” for a picture file or “.mp3” for a music file. Pay attention to the file extensions that you are downloading to keep your computer secure online. Many viruses and malicious items will include executable file extensions such as “.exe” if you are on a PC or “.dmg” if you are on a Mac. To find out how to enable extensions on your computer follow this link for a Mac, and this link for a PC.
Lastly, get a good Anti-Virus
To keep your computer secure online the most effective purchase you can make is a reliable anti-virus program. Paid anti-virus programs often include more robust firewalls, and better protection for malware trying to infect your computer. We recommend many different paid anti-virus programs online. Take a look at the products and if you have any questions give us a call.
Keeping your computer secure online requires you to be aware of many different threats on the internet at one time. The more you know, the more effective you can be at tackling your daily tasks without worrying about malware or viruses interrupting your day. To find out more information about how to keep your computer secure online take a look at this article About.com