Have you recently spent quite a bit of money on a new computer? There are many simple ways out there to protect your investment and extend your PC’s life expectancy.
After all, even though computer prices have gone down quite a bit during the last decade, we firmly believe that every loonie counts. Plus, it simply makes sense to take the necessary precautions to keep your device running efficiently all the while protecting personal information.
1- Use a Anti-virus Software
According to a recent study conducted by Microsoft, the chances of your computer getting a virus are multiplied by 5.5 times if you are not using a proper anti-virus software and this, including a free one.
In other words, if you are not using this type of software yet, then what are you waiting for? With a plethora of different ones available on the market, visit the section dedicated to software on our Category page for some of the top ones available on the web.
Keep in mind that even if your computer came equipped with an anti-virus, these usually only last for a limited period of time. So, it’s probably a good idea to double-check the expiration date.
2- Update your Software
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by how frequently people dismiss messages prompting them to update their software. Think about it, even if you have never done this, how many times have you been tempted to skip an update?
These updates are indispensable and not only because they are meant to constantly improve the software installed on your computer but also because they aim to stop the ever-evolving security threats.
3- Activate your Firewall
No matter what type of online user you are, keeping your firewall active remains one of the best ways to keep intruders and malware from accessing your PC.
Although computers will usually have it as a default setting to have a firewall set as active, it may be a good idea to verify if this is the case on your device. Plus, having an active firewall will not prevent you from streaming or performing peer-to-peer sharing.
4- Use Serious Passwords
This may sound incredible to a few of you, but according to an annual study the most frequent passwords go as follows: 123456 and 12345678.
Clearly this isn’t what experts have in mind when they recommend opting for “serious” passwords. An efficient solution consists in creating a password by using a simple phrase, written in text message style using letters and numbers (examples: 2night, 2day or gr8). For an extra level of security, one can also add a word or number that refers to what the password is specifically being used for.
Plus, remember to change your passwords frequently and to use different ones for home and work.
5- Secure your USB Keys
It is also recommended to protect data kept on any other type of devices you may be using in conjunction with your PC, including USB keys and external hard drives. You can do this by either using a password or encryption protection.
There are many encryption solutions available out there, including BitLocker, which are meant to protect data from theft, loss and hackers.
6- Prevent Phishing
For anyone who is unfamiliar with this concept, here is Wikipedia’s definition of phishing: “the act of attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.“
In other words, this term refers to emails that are circulating on the web for unpaid bills, lotteries, and yes, a foreign king that is looking for a heir.
When in doubt, simply use your common sense and avoid clicking on any link included in the email.
7- Turn Off Your Device
This may sound like a bit of an odd tip, but it’s one that even the FBI suggests. According to this organization, constantly leaving your computer on makes it more susceptible to outside threats. The logic behind this is that shutting down your device is one of the most efficient ways to sever a potential attacker’s connection, including botnet as well as spyware.
So constantly leaving your computer on basically diminishes the amount of opportunities you get to stop unwanted connections.
This concludes our list of the 7 most recommended ways to protect your PC. Include these in the daily use of your computer and it should not only avoid you a lot of headaches, but also help keep your device running for longer and better.
Did we miss any PC maintenance tips? Let us know and we will make sure to add them to the list.