Home Computer Security

The security of your personal computer is becoming more and more important these days.  The rise in cyber crime made national headlines over the past few years as several high profile credit card breaches at companies such as Target opened the doors for fraud to millions of customers.  I know, I was one of the people who shopped at Target during the dates the card data was exposed, and my card was hit a few weeks later.

Being lazy with computer security will definitely bite you in the butt at some point; it’s really only a matter of time before something happens.  I used to never install antivirus software on my computer because I thought it slowed the system down (in my defense, old antivirus software really was horrible on system resources).  However I would ALWAYS end up with a virus of some sort.

The viruses now, however, are much more damaging.  Ransomware is rampant now.  Ransomware will encrypt your computer files and force you to pay a huge sum of money in order to get the key to unlock them.

So what can you do to fight against these security threats?  There are a few key things that you can start to do TODAY in order to ensure that your data remains safe.

Back Up Your Data

This is the first thing I tell people to do before anything else.  The biggest threats to your computer security are data loss.  You won’t know how important this is until you suddenly lose access to your computer files.  This could happen due to ransomware, viruses, or a hardware failure such as a hard disk breakdown.  The hard disk breakdown actually happened to me while in the middle of a high profile commercial project.  However, since I had a cloud based backup solution running at all times (thanks Backblaze) I was covered.

The best way to set this up is to get a cloud based backup system that will back up your data around the clock, on the fly, in the background.  This way you’ll never forget to back up your data – something that pretty much never happens no matter how many New Year’s resolutions you make to do this.

 

Get A Good Antivirus

I really recommend Norton 360.  It’s the most lightweight and fastest antivirus software that I have used.  I never notice that it’s there…it’s just always running quietly in the background.  And I have never noticed a system slowdown due to its presence.

In addition to a good antivirus program you might want to seriously consider an anti-malware software program such as Spyhunter 4 or Malwarebytes.  These programs help to get rid of adware and spyware that masquerades on your system as real software.  These will sneak by your antivirus software – it happened to me with the Conduit search malware that piggybacked on with a .rar software that I had downloaded.

Be Careful Out There

The usual advice here is to stay away from email attachments that you’re unsure of.  However I will go beyond that and tell you not to browse internet “bad” neighborhoods.  This is usually the adult industry, download sites (free software and torrents), message boards for unsavory subjects, and more.  You’ll know it when you’re there.  These are where a lot of “drive by” infections happen.  It’s true that you can be infected anywhere, but these types of sites are hotbeds for criminal and hacker activity.