Since we’ve already talked about smartphones, we might as well go back to laptops and desktops. No matter what form factor you prefer, it’s time to think a bit more about staying safe online. If you’re using a laptop, you have the flexibility of being portable. As long as you have room to carry it, you can pretty much go anywhere with your laptop. This is a type of freedom that desktops just don’t have. However, all of that freedom does come at a price. Let’s go into those tips on how to stay safe!
1. Always Use Antivirus & Anti-Malware Protection
If you aren’t using a strong antivirus software package, you’re losing out on the chance to keep your computer safe. While this is old advice, it never fails to amaze us how many people are just going without this basic level of protection. It also means that you’re going to have to not only install this software but you need to make sure that it’s always running. Believe it or not, there are programs that do turn off antivirus protection as part of their destructive ways. Avoid this completely by making sure that you’re looking at these issues from time to time. Don’t just sit down at your computer and never look at your computer in this way; it’ll only lead to trouble.
A good antivirus can’t block everything. Part of your computer’s protection should go towards getting a good firewall on the case. You need to make sure that the firewall is constantly monitoring for rogue applications that are trying to access the Internet. Now, at first it might get annoying because your firewall is set very sensitive. This means that it might trap programs that you really do want to run, prompting you for direction on what to do next. You have to give permissions out on a select case by case basis.
3. Avoid Useless Programs
If a program sounds way too good to be true, chances are good that there is some sort of hidden way that the program owner is making their money. They might install small software programs that use popups or browser add-ons, both of which are very annoying. They can also be next to impossible to remove, which is going to be aggravating after a while. But these programs can also steal information from your computer, so it’s better to avoid them. If you have an anti-malware scanner, then you will need to use it often in order to ensure that these programs aren’t leaving behind damaging software over time.
Be sure that when you’re using software that protects your computer that you are always checking for updates. Windows has its own Windows Update system that you can use to get updates, but every antivirus will update not only the software but the internal database used to track viruses. Updating that database is very important, because a database that’s out of date will leave gaps in your security process.
All of these tips are designed to give you the best path to enjoying your computer and keeping it safe for a long time. While some security software suites cost money, they are designed to protect you at a higher level than the free stuff. But if you’re on a limited budget, many virus scanning programs are free for non-commercial use. Check out all of your options right now!