Secure and protect your computer
Be in control and protect your virtual home
As your home is your castle you wouldn’t let anyone just wonder in and snoop around or take anything, your virtual home – your PC, laptop or tablet – should be just as secure, especially with the amount of information about you, your family and friends is stored on it. Protecting your system requires vigilance and the right tools.
Malware is a widespread concern that costs consumers billions and compromises millions of personal computers annually. More than 12 million people in the UK alone were affected by online crime in 2012 costing £1.8bn a year, and more than double that amount for the US according to the annual Norton Cybercrime report.
Build up your defences
Install antivirus and antispyware programs from a trusted source like this website. If you are unsure read our reviews and download trial versions to test until you find one that you like, that way you are more likely to use it to scan and check downloads.
Defend with a Firewall
If you install an internet security package rather than an antivirus package (AV) on your system then a firewall will come as standard. Most free antivirus packages do not come with a firewall as standard and you need one.
A firewall protects your system from hackers who will at some point try to access your information remotely. Windows firewall is only a one-way firewall, which is basic terms means that it will not stop malware from “phoning home” your information to cyber-criminals. Make sure you protect your computer with a two-way firewall that runs automatically without interfering with your work. You can find them in top internet security suites.
Operating System (OS) updates
Make sure to keep the heart of your computer running smoothly and safely. Operating systems – such as Windows 7 and above, and Mac OS – can be set to automatically keep themselves up-to-date.
This way your system will update the latest patches and updates to keep your system up-to-date and any vulnerabilities fixed. To check updates for your Operating System (OS) you can visit the relevant websites for Microsoft and Apple below.
Microsoft Update http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com
Apple Software Update http://www.apple.com/softwareupdate
It is very important to keep ALL software on your system up-to-date, this includes Adobe and Java. Security holes are discovered regularly and need to be fixed.
Browse safely with the latest browser updates. A browser is simply the software - such as Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari - that you use to access the internet. Although more secure than 12 months ago cyber-criminals still seek to exploit any security holes, especially in older browsers.
Microsoft and Apple automatic updates should install the latest versions, other browsers like Firefox and Chrome usually update automatically but it is always best to check that you have the latest version.
Download the latest browsers:
Note: Once downloaded, Firefox and Google Chrome update automatically
Secure Your Wireless Network
These networks allow a computer to access the internet remotely, without the use of Ethernet cables. Without safeguards, hackers may connect to your computer enabling them to observe what websites your visit, collecting personal data such as account information which could be used for criminal purposes. Protect yourself:
• At home ensure your Wi-Fi network is password protected.
• When using a public hotspot: Be aware that unless the web page is secure “https” others can easily access what you are transmitting.
• Be sure that your personal wireless connection is encrypted; it is password protected and if your router has a firewall, make sure this is enabled.
If you are unsure how to check this, or configure it read the manual, or look online.
Always remember to back up your system
Finally, back up your critical information. This is always important in case something does go wrong. You should take the time to back up your contacts, photos, files and folders that are important to you.
Password Protect Your System
This is especially important if you are using a tablet or laptop. Don’t let others snoop at your personal information.