How to make your computer virtually unhackable
Off the top of your head, what information do you store on your computer? If you mange your bank account, pay taxes and bills, or have financial profiles online, anyone who successfully hacks your computer has access to your account numbers, credit cards, social security, and personal information such as your full name, phone number, and home address. At the touch of a few keys, a total stranger can steal your money and entire identity just from the contents of your hard drive.
So how do you protect your computer from hackers and identity thieves? There’s only one surefire way to make a computer one-hundred-percent unhackable. Disconnect from the internet, pack your hard drive in a storage locker, and bury it in a 10-foot hole behind your house. But, assuming you want to actually use your computer, that’s not a viable option.
You can’t completely eliminate the risk of being hacked, but there are steps you can take to ensure your files and information are as safe as possible from criminal threats and identity thieves. The goal is to make your computer so hard to crack into that exploiting it won’t be worth the money. Following these steps will bolster your PC security and deter any would-be thieves from making off with your information.
Connect to a Private Network
The first step to a secure computer is minimising the risk of being hacked. When you connect to a public network, you’re opening a door for hackers to slip through. Have you ever connected to Wi-Fi from hotspots at cafés and hangouts? You leave yourself so vulnerable to cyber attack that the criminal doesn’t even have to be in the building to tap into your device. They could be parked in a van somewhere monitoring everything that appears on your screen.
Sticking to private networks eliminates the risk of being targeted by hotspot hackers. But that doesn’t mean criminals can’t get into your home network. Setting up a strong Wi-Fi password is essential to keeping unwanted eyes away from your screen. And no, “password”, “1234”, or the name of your cat won’t keep hackers at bay. You need to create a complex password with lower and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols to thwart hacking attempts.
Once your network is secure, you’ll have your first line of defense against hackers and identity thieves.
Use Up-to-date Internet Security Software
Install strong anti-virus software to protect your computer from viruses and malware. Malicious software can spy on your computer or steal your usernames and passwords by tracking your keystrokes. Since hackers are constantly upgrading and creating infectious software to attack systems, blocking and deleting viruses is like a never-ending game of cat and mouse. To stay ahead of the curve, you need to update your anti-virus, security software, and OS whenever you’re prompted.
You can purchase internet security suites or install free programs such as AVG or Avast. It’s important to do a little research and find the best security software for your system. Whatever anti-virus, firewall, and malware removal programs you choose, just be sure to keep them updated to ensure peak effectiveness against cyber attacks.
Safeguard Files with Password Protection
Do you store important files in your computer or send documents over email? If a tenacious hacker gains access to your computer or email account, don’t make it easy for them to sift through files containing bank account, tax, and personal information. Protect important documents with strong passwords no one but you and the recipient knows.
In a worst-case scenario where your files are compromised, this last line of defence may prevent criminals from making off with your name, address, credit card number, or social security. All you have to do is take an extra step and ensure every file is locked by a hard-to-crack password of lower and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols.You should also set up password protection on your user account to prevent anyone from logging into your computer. If you set your computer to require a log in when it goes to sleep, you’ll keep anyone from snooping if you leave your computer on.
Hackers are tenacious and relentless, so you have to stay on top of your internet security to protect your information. Buff your computer security so criminals who intrude upon your privacy have a difficult time gleaning anything from it. With a robust security system and smart internet choices, frustrated hackers will think twice about going after your computer.