The Internet can be a dangerous place for your PC if you don’t protect it correctly. Every kind of trap imaginable waits to snare the unwary or the uninformed. Don’t let that deter you though, there are ways you can mitigate risk by taking a few simple steps to protect yourself. We’ll run through a few here that you can do yourself.
When installing programs make sure to fully read and verify what it is you’re downloading and agreeing to. Many programs, even legitimate ones, include extra software with their installation packages which can slow down or even compromise your computer. This software is usually optional and must be agreed to by you in order to be installed as part of the initial installation. These can range from unnecessary browser add-ons which slow down your browser or desktop programs which run in the background after install and can serve to slow down PC performance. Often times many programs advertised as capable of speeding up your PC often lead to virus infections, malware and identity theft.
Make sure you read every page of the installation process carefully and fully. Look for check boxes and “I agree” buttons, those are what will authorize the unwanted software. Only rely on software you yourself know to be trustworthy or consult a computer expert.
New threats emerge and evolve every day, part of a never ending arms race between the black and white hat security experts all around the world. When these threats arise they are often identified with in hours or days. Fixes or countermeasures are devised and pushed out in the form of updates to your various software. However many people don’t update which leaves them vulnerable to threats which are preventable. Hackers use this negligence as a means to do harm and steal information from you.
Update your software, it’s that simple. Most software has an “auto update” feature which makes the task of keeping up to date a breeze. Ensure these features are enabled for your software and your operating system to keep your PC as secure as possible.
The first sign there’s something wrong with your PC is most likely going to be a constant stream of pop-up messages. Your PC will give alert and warning messages when something is wrong. Most messages often explain how to fix the problem but if they don’t, they almost always give you specific information regarding the error. Unfortunately these messages often go unheeded as many people just click past them considering them to be unimportant, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Read. Read the messages, interpret what its saying and take the steps it suggests. Not all pop-ups are legit, but they are often easy to identify for an expert. Not every pop-up can be resolved yourself but a whole lot of them can. In the event you cannot fix the error yourself, or believe it to be fraudulent, consult a computer expert.