How to protect your PC from hackers.

There has been an awful lot of news recently about large companies being hacked all over the world, causing disruptions, some which have a negative effect on members of the public. For instance, the NHS hacking attack caused appointments and surgeries to be cancelled and left a lot of patients in limbo until things were sorted.

Now a lot of people don’t know how to protect their own computers from being hacked. Vital information that is stored is there for the taking, and I’m not talking just photos. I mean bank details, passwords and other important personal details you do not want others to have.

This article is something I put together to give you some ideas on how you can protect your PC better, and make it a lot harder for someone to hack into it.

 

Install and keep up to date Antivirus Software:

Even if you go to sites that you deem trustworthy, always ensure you have up to date Antivirus software on your PC.  Malware (Software which is specifically designed to disrupt, damage, or gain authorised access to a computer system) can be downloaded onto your PC without you even realising. It is designed to be undetectable until it’s too late. By having antivirus software, it scans for any suspicious activity and files that may be on your computer, then removes them from your computer, which is why I suggest scanning your PC regularly to prevent things from slipping through. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have something like this, malware can come through seamlessly harmless emails and can cause a lot of damage to your PC including making it unusable.

Some really good ones are:

  • Norton
  • McAfee
  • Avast
  • Kaspersky
  • Bitdefender

There are plenty more but these one’s I’ve had experience with and recommend that you also do your own research to help make the decision. Also, ensure you install all updates when your antivirus requires it, new viruses are developed all the time so that update may be the defence you need to fight newer malware.

 

Keep Windows Operating System up to date

I know it’s annoying and takes up time, but always download those Windows updates. Not only do they fix known issues, but it also develops Windows built-in Security features. Hackers often discover new ways of bypassing the security so Microsoft has to try to keep on top of it by releasing these updates.

 

Don’t fall for Phishing Emails or Phone Calls:

Emails are a very easy way for someone to access your personal details and even hack your PC. Most of these emails are usually caught through your email application’s spam filter, however, if one does slip through and you click on a link or file on that email then your PC is at risk. Your web browser should detect and block any sites the email takes you to, but you’re still giving the hacker a chance to get information.

If you have an email you don’t know who the sender is or suspect it’s a fake email then just click delete. Don’t open or click anything you aren’t sure of, even if it looks official. Remember Banks will never email you asking for information, they will always call you instead.

Speaking of phone calls, there have been times where people accept calls off someone who pretends to be a PC expert. They then go on to tell the person to go onto their PC because there is something wrong with it, often they will also ask for payment to fix it. DO NOT DO ANY OF THIS! Hang up straight away. Sometimes hackers can use your phone lines to hack your network and get into your computer. Not only this but by paying out you’ve just lost money. If your PC turns out to have a virus go to a computer shop and get it fixed, NEVER hand out money over the phone.

Upgrade your Operating System!

This is a big one, and the reason is that Microsoft has stopped supporting the older systems such as Windows XP and Vista, therefore if your PCs and Laptops are on those operating systems you have barely any protection from security threats! This is one of the reasons the NHS got attacked, a lot of their computers are on old versions of Windows. What people don’t realise is that Microsoft charges if you want those older versions to be covered by their security still.  So make sure you’re at least on Windows 8 or above!

 

Make sure your Windows Firewall is Active

A firewall is an essential piece of security software that monitors all incoming and outgoing traffic on your network to check for hackers, malware and unauthorised information going out. It’s normally the first line of defence for your PC.  So always make sure it’s on by going through the control panel and then clicking on Security, as firewalls will block all unauthorised connections to your PC including hackers who are trying to steal your data. It also allows you to select which programs can have access to the internet, meaning it’s easy to adjust depending on your use.


Note: If your Computer ends up being affected by a virus and held to ransom, no matter what do not input bank details or offer money to the hackers. Instead, go to a computer expert and let the police know so they can warn others. I’ve seen this happen too many times with other people, and sometimes they don’t get their money back!


 

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