Computer hackers are unauthorized users who break into computer systems in order to steal, change or destroy information, often by installing dangerous malware without your knowledge or consent. These computer hackers use viruses and malware to access information you really don’t want them to have such as your credit card information.
Anyone who uses a computer connected to the Internet is susceptible to the threats that computer hackers and predators pose. These online thieves typically use phishing scams, spam email or instant messages and bogus Web sites to deliver dangerous malware to your computer and compromise your computer security.
Email Phishing scams are carried out online by tech-savvy con artists and identity theft criminals. They use spam, fake websites constructed to look identical to real sites, email and instant messages to trick you into divulging sensitive information, like bank account passwords and credit card numbers. Once you take the phisher’s bait, they can use the information to create fake accounts in your name, ruin your credit, and steal your money or even your identity.
Here are 10 things you can do to prevent these cyber-criminals from infecting your computer with viruses, malware or spyware:
1. Windows and Mac Updates: It’s important for you to keep your OS up to speed in order to minimize the possibility of having worms or viruses compromise your system.
2. Software Updates: Make sure to get the latest fixes or versions of your favorite applications in order to never let hackers find the opportunity to infect your network and computer. Make sure that your web browsers and other web-based programs are given good upgrades or patches.
3. Anti-Virus Software: Running your machine without an anti-virus software—especially if it’s regularly connected to the Internet—is downright suicidal in these modern, computer-virus-ridden times. Get one as soon as you can, and always confirm if its virus definitions are regularly updated.
4. Anti-Spyware Software: Spyware remains to be a continuous threat to computer users everywhere.
5. Switch to Macintosh: Macs get a pass for the simple fact that it’s not as commonly targeted as, Windows-based computers.
6. Hacker-Controlled Websites: Common sense dictates that you should avoid going to bad neighborhoods, especially if you carry a lot of valuables. Avoid getting snared by dubious sites dedicated to porn, free downloads, online games, and so on; this way, there are less chances for you to be hacked.
7. Firewall: If you don’t have a third-party firewall then it’s highly recommended for you to activate your Windows firewall (available on all Windows versions from XP and up). Firewalls help filter your traffic, and there are some products that even filter both incoming and outgoing data streams.
8. Spam Email: Unsolicited messages should never be opened, and that goes double for unsolicited messages with file attachments. Fortunately, web-based email sites like Gmail have an extra layer of protection integrated in them although it’s still not recommended for you to overly rely on them. When in doubt, just delete the message.
9. Data Backup: If you have critical data, work-related documents, or personal files, then you must back them up as often as possible, because you never know what will happen to your computer.
From viruses to system crashes, these sensitive bits of information can be wiped clean from your hard drive in the blink of an eye, so it’s best to always have a backup at hand.
10. Password Policies: The passwords you pick could mean the difference between a breached computer and a safe computer.
At any rate, the most common recommendations when it comes to picking a password includes:
- Not using the same password on every one of your accounts
- Using combinations of letters and numbers
- Make sure that your password is as arcane as possible without necessarily making it too difficult for you to remember
Never give out your password to anyone.
There is no way of completely protecting yourself 100% from computer viruses but if the above 10 measures are taken the likelihood of a virus infection on your network and computer will be greatly reduced.
Call iComputer if you suspect a computer virus infection. The certified technicians will remove all traces of the virus and install a good free anti-virus for no additional charge and even perform a hardware diagnostic to make sure everything is running smoothly.