[dropcaps]A[/dropcaps] large percentage of computer users routinely neglect to protect the information on their computers. That makes them potential targets for malicious software that can quickly gather that data and use it to empty bank accounts and run up charges on credit cards. Recent malware attacks have also held unprotected computers hostage, with hackers demanding ransom before providing a code to unlock the computer. By following some basic steps, computer users can avoid the majority of threats to their computers’ security.
Use Strong Passwords for All Sites
While it’s tempting to use the same password for everything, that’s a dangerous practice. If one site is hacked, the security of all your commonly used programs and sites is threatened. Computer security experts always recommend using strong passwords and never using the same password for multiple sites. Obviously, even moderate computer users can quickly generate many hard-to-remember passwords, so taking advantage of some sort of password management software is a great idea.
A great software tool that can help you to keep track of all your passwords securely is LastPass. I highly recommend this software. It has helped me out so much as I can create random passwords now without worrying that I’m going to forget them.
Keep Software Up to Date
Browsers are constantly under attack by hackers, so it is important to install updates as they are provided. It’s also important to install and routinely run software designed to discover and eliminate all types of malware. If you’re the type of person who tends to forget to do so, configure the software to update and run automatically. Doing so will prevent a large percentage of the malware typically circulating from infecting your computer.
Always Back Up Your Data Files
No matter how careful you are, there is still a potential for malware to infect your computer. While system hardware is generally easy to restore, losing valuable data can create significant problems. Set up a regular routine for backing up all files, either to an on-site backup hard drive or to a cloud-based storage system. Again, the process can be automated or manual. The important thing is that steps are taken to back up all files often. If your computer is ever infected, the losses will be minimized.
I suggest Backblaze or MyPCBackup, which I use myself. I use Backblaze for my video editing PC and MyPCBackup for my business laptop. They are very cost effective ways of backing up your computer as you can set the software to back up at a set time each day, which is enormously helpful. Online backup is also helpful in terms of being an “off site” backup in case of a disaster such as a flood or house fire.
The data security best practices are constantly evolving, which means all computer users should take the time to stay abreast of changes affecting their systems. By doing so, the chances of your data being lost or stolen will be significantly reduced. Taking some time to put a few precautions in place now can save a great deal of time and stress later.