If you’re like most people these days, you use devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptop or desktop computers throughout the day, every day, both for work and leisure. This tech is incredibly beneficial, but there are some downsides, too. In particular, hackers are constantly finding ways to break into devices and networks to crash systems, steal information, or lock accounts.
You know you must be vigilant when it comes to your devices and keeping cybercriminals out, but do you actually take all the necessary precautions? There are many different types of tech viruses you’re at risk from, so you can never be too safe. Thankfully, though, the steps to take to protect yourself don’t have to take up a lot of time, energy, or money.
Use Firewalls and Security Software
One of the best things you can do is install protective software on your computers. Firewalls, for instance, are helpful. They’re designed to stop unauthorized access from being gained, especially when you’re using internet-based programs. Firewalls act as an extra layer of defense against cybercriminals who try to use various types of viruses, worms, malicious network traffic, and other attacking devices to exploit vulnerable systems.
While once you had to pay for third-party firewall products, today most computers come with them preinstalled by the manufacturers. The firewalls aren’t always activated, though, so check the settings on your device.
Top security software systems are also advised to help you protect computers from viruses. There are basic, free antivirus applications available, but most people agree that these aren’t enough to truly stop hackers. As such, search for antivirus software from a trusted brand that will protect you from a wider variety of threats using the latest techniques.
The best products are those that not only prevent infections but also remove all trace of them if found. Also, opt for security software that provides features like custom scans and protection against phishing attacks.
Firewalls and security software are vital, but they can’t do their jobs properly unless you update the programs when new versions are released. Both signature and database updates are required to stay safe from the most sophisticated threats. Hackers create and spread programs at an alarming speed now (often via social media sites), so run the latest versions of protective programs to allow the products to do their work effectively.
Update other systems, too. For example, keep operating systems, browsers, plugins, apps, games, and other software up to date. Manufacturers are continually looking for security gaps to plug, and release new versions when they make a change. As such, you’ll leave yourself vulnerable to attack if you don’t run updates across the board. Keep in mind, though, that most programs have automatic update features, so you can switch these on and not have to worry about checking for updates manually.
Disable Automatic Image Preview on Email
Next, disable the automatic preview of images on your email program. Microsoft Outlook and numerous other solutions have this function. While newer releases tend not to automatically display images because developers have realized viruses are often coded into graphics codes, but the same is not true of older versions.
Remember, too, that if you share your computer with anyone else, such as a flatmate or work colleague, they may have changed the settings on newer email systems to download pictures automatically. You need to know if this is the case and switch it back ASAP to block hackers from using images against you.
Disable the autorun feature on your computer for added protection. This feature is installed on many operating systems but can cause problems. Many viruses work by attaching themselves to a drive and then automatically installing onto other, connected media (such as external hard drives, thumb drives, and network drives). This means autorun circulates viruses more quickly than they would otherwise get around. To avoid unwittingly propagating threats throughout your entire network of devices, disable autorun today.
There are many viruses created each year from which you need to protect yourself. However, by taking just a few simple yet effective steps to keep devices safe, this shouldn’t be anything that causes a major upset in your life. Most viruses are combated by the tried-and-true safety initiatives mentioned above.