We all know the world is becoming more and more reliant on computers. Everyday millions of dollars are spent virtually. Computers, and more recently the Internet has become a means of not only mass communication but convenience. You can pay all your bills online with a simple click of a button. You can manage your finances and even run a business all online.
But why is it that lately we hear more and more stories of ‘hackers’ targeting some of the worlds largest financial institutions and government facilities?
As the content on the internet evolves and more people switch to paying bills and purchasing goods over the Internet, hackers have an enticing itch to attack these institutions.
While you do not generally have to worry about a scary cloaked man with six monitors actively attacking your network as a consumer, there is always someone out there developing malicious infections designed to steal your information.
Easy and simple ways to help protect you online:
Install and update your Anti-Virus software – Always. Without an Anti-Virus your computer is susceptible to a whole range of exploitation and infection. Most Anti-Virus and Internet Security suites will ‘shadow’ what you do on your computer and pre-scan objects ahead of time to offer an early warning system. The best protection is prevention.
Anti-Virus systems scan incoming/outgoing email, downloaded files, and core system files to keep your computer healthy and virus free. Their primary job is to prevent an infection rather than fix an already occurring issue.
There is another side to this battle though. Certain Anti-Virus systems are not as aggressive as competitors, and others update slower or lack the required protection of other systems. At ASAP Computers we generally recommend and carry Bit Defender Internet Security.
Install Operating System updates – It’s no secret that every time your working on something windows always wants to shut your system down for updates. While this is very annoying it is also very important. The updates are designed to fix security loopholes and possible exploits that have been found.
Always update installed software – If you’re on your computer from time to time chances are you have seen this prompt a thousand times.
And we will bet you have probably clicked ‘no’ a thousand times. Doing so opens your system up to a wide range of infections and exploits. Java is required by many major websites and programs. It’s generally a very good rule of thumb to update when it asks.
However, it is important to also know the differences between the real java, and the websites that try to infect your computer through fake ‘java’ updates. Java always asks permission from User Account Control and is a verified publisher ‘Oracle America, Inc’ as noted by the above picture. Java never asks you to update through the web browser like below.
Notice how java is asking you to update through the Internet Explorer browser. Java will not ask you to update through the web browser. This is fake and you should immediately run a virus scan. This is also common with Flash player.
The easiest way to avoid this is to install a browser like Google Chrome. Which has java built in and will update automatically. Google Chrome also has a host of excellent adblockers which help prevent this annoyances.
Do not use the same password for every site – In a perfect world we could use one single password for all of our endeavors. However anything to do with usernames and passwords can be compromised. With so many different systems and levels of security its impossible to fix every loop-hole. Let’s say for a moment your Facebook becomes compromised. Millions of passwords and email addresses get leaked. Hackers can actually set-up programs that will take your email and password an try it with various financial and social media institutions (Banks, Paypal, email etc.) It’s always wise to use different complex passwords.
Make backups – Make a backup of everything on your computer often. More and more ‘ransomware’ are popping up. They specifically target users personal files and encrypt them so that they are not retrievable. In the end if your system is compromised it will not be nearly as bad if you have everything backed up. Your operating system can always be re-installed, but personal files cannot be replaced.
What do I do if I think my system has been infected? How do I back my files up? Who can answer my security questions?
ASAP Computer services is proud to offer a completely free diagnostic. We would love to check your computer out for you, and let you know if you have been infected or not. We can also check on the status of your Anti-Virus and system updates for you. We can make recommendations based on your habits and address any other computer/security related needs.
We can also teach you how to back your files up on DVD’s/CD’s or a USB drive to protect your files.
As Ocalas premier computer repair center we would be happy to answer any questions you may have about computer security or computer repair.