How to protect your computer in 5 easy steps
- Use an Anti-Virus software
- Keep your software and operating system up to date
- Pop-up and email warnings
- Be aware of emails
- Check your Firewall
1# Use an Anti-Virus software
If you have a PC or Mac you must have an Anti-Virus and if you don’t, get it now. Mac users please don’t think you are safe because you have an Apple computer. Although it is technically true that Macs don’t have Viruses, Mac treats are related to pirated software, social network scams (Facebook, Twitter), and socially engineered websites that can run malicious code on your Mac and collect your information.
What most Mac users don’t know is that a Mac can still transmit and spread Windows viruses. If you have an infected file with windows malicious code, and share it your windows friend, they will get infected. Be smart and protect your computer regardless of the Operating System you are using.
An Anti-Virus can help detect most malicious software before they affect your computer. Obviously having an Anti-Virus does not mean it will catch everything but better safe than sorry. There are many softwares out there that will help protect your computer. Try to get one that gives you a complete protection. A software that has an Anti-Virus, Spyware, malware and web browsing protection.
For PC users you can use Microsoft Security Essentials. It is free and works just as good as any other Anti-Virus.
For Mac users you can use Sophos. It is free and will do a great job.
Make sure you schedule the Anti-Virus to get updates regularly so you get the latest definitions.
2# Keep your software and operating system up to date:
Update your programs, operating system, and browsers regularly. It will help prevent many problems and patch security holes. Always update via Windows updates or Mac updates. While browsing the Internet, if you get a popup asking you to run any updates, it is a scam. See # 3 for more details.
3#Pop-up and email warnings:
Unscrupulous companies use pop-up ads to display false warnings about your computer. This is most common with pop-up warnings that you see while you’re surfing the Web.
“Do NOT click any button in the pop-up. Such as a “Close”, “No” button or the “Close” box that may appear in the upper-right corner of the pop-up. Closing a pop-up that way might actually install a virus or other malicious software on your computer. To close a pop-up ad :”
For windows, press Ctrl-W
For Mac, press Command-W.
You may receive an email warning that claims to be from a computer “expert” warning you of a virus. These are usually hoaxes. Do not follow the steps described in any email unless you’re sure the threat is real.
4# Be aware of emails:
When you receive an email with an attachment that you are not expecting, do not open it. Simple rule: Don’t trust but verify. If your email provider does not scan your emails before they are delivered to your mailbox, scans the attachments with your Anti-Virus.
If the email is not from someone you know and trust: don’t open it, scan it (personally I will just delete it, especially if the subject or body is catchy). Do the same with email that have suspicious links. If the attachment is from someone you know and trust but did not expect: Scan it.
5# Check your Firewall.
Every operating system comes with a built in Firewall to prevent unauthorized access to your computer. Make sure it is turned on.
How to turn on a firewall on windows: Start Menu /Control Panel / Windows Firewall
How to turn on a firewall on Mac: Apple Menu / system preferences / security and privacy / Firewall