Install and Update
- Whether it is top of the line antivirus software or the free version available online, ensure you have some form of protection. Install antivirus software as soon as you use your computer for the first time. Just as important is installing the necessary and regular updates each antivirus provider will supply. Because this process is so important to computer users, it can also be used as a cover for hackers. Rather than click on pop-ups to install or update your antivirus software, visit the official website or purchase it from a reputable retailer.
Email Attachments and Downloads
- Avoid downloads from sites you don't know and trust. As harmless and innocent as some audio or video downloads may seem, if you don't trust the source, leave it alone. If you are not 100 percent certain of the authenticity of the source, leave it alone. For the sake of one downloaded file you could end up spending a lot of money figuring out that you have lost all the information, photos, music and documents on your computer. Never open or download an attachment on an email that is sent from someone you don't know. Also be very careful about opening attachments of forwarded emails. Friends and family could have unwittingly forwarded a threat-containing email.
Switch It Off
- An excellent way to protect your computer from hackers is to switch it off. This means whenever your computer is not in use do not leave it on. Even with advanced firewalls and antivirus software, there is still some degree of risk. When your computer is off no hacker can access it or use it for hacking another computer. It might be convenient to always have your computer on stand-by and ready to go, but by switching it off when not in use you are protecting your computer, and probably saving money on your power bill too.
- Pay close attention to the URLs of websites you visit frequently. Access such websites by typing in their URL addresses rather than going through your favorites list. If your favorites list has been hacked and altered, you could end up visiting a site designed to appear like the one you intend to visit and providing your log-in information. Small variations---such as different fonts, a slight difference in the URL address, different logos, etc.---should raise red flags.