Internet security and protection from viruses has been a subject that’s been bothering people for a lot of years, and still, even up to this day, the ways to protect yourself and your PC are not commonly known for any reason. I think that is time to put an end to all this misinformation and all this confusion and explain clearly the necessary steps that we need to take in order to protect ourselves.
If someone asked me, “Hey how can I protect myself from internet threats?” The answer would always be, “It depends.” The necessary steps may differ from person to person because each one of us is using our PC for different purposes.
For example, someone who needs to constantly use suspicious looking websites will want to make sure that his privacy is safe and that no one can steal his information. So that person will have to take the necessary actions to protect his privacy. On the other hand, someone who uses his PC only to browse Facebook and Youtube will not give a damn about such things because those are legitimate websites that hopefully no one will need to worry about them spying on our privacy.
You should look out for possible signs of malware on computer and respond accordingly in case prevention technique fails.
Steps to follow
- Install an Antivirus and an Anti-Malware
- Stay updated
- Secure your Rooter
- Install a VPN
I know that these terms on their own can be too vague and hard to understand, no need to worry though, I’ll explain everything down below. Now, if you have already taken these steps on your own before and you’re absolutely sure that you’ve done so in the right way, you can skip to the bottom of this article and check the things that you need to look out for.
Install an Antivirus and an Anti-Malware
When I say to install an Antivirus and an Anti-Malware, I mean both of them, not just one or the other but both. You’ll need both an Antivirus program and an Anti-Malware in order to be safe. That is because an Antivirus will keep you safe from old more known threats while an Anti-Malware will protect you from newer ones.
I know that using two security applications is bad for a PC, but that only applies when using two Antivirus programs or two Anti-Malware ones. If you only use one Antivirus and one Anti-Malware then you should be fine. Just make sure that they will not be scanning for threats together at the same time, if they do so interferences might arise and you wouldn’t want that.
In case, you run out of budget, please check the list of free adware removal tools. This list basically has some top-antimalware product recommendations.
I have a couple of recommendations for you to start with. You could try AVG as an Antivirus and Malwarefox as an Anti-Malware, they are both lightweight and they are doing a great job with real time protection, not to mention the features that they offer too. So check these first and if you like them you can keep them.
Make sure that all your applications are updated to their latest version, that goes for your security programs and your Windows security updates as well. This step is the one that no one should skip, there are people with advanced knowledge on computers who can use their PC without any security programs and still be safe because they can easily spot viruses.
This is something that does not apply with updates, not matter how experienced of a user you are you must make sure that your PC is fully updated. Actually, even if you’re a tech nerd who can smell a virus from a mile away, it is suggested that you have at least an Anti-Malware as an extra layer of protection.
Secure your Router
This is mostly for protection from local hackers, there are various ways and methods to secure your Rooter, you could find whole articles that do nothing more than simply explain how do achieve that. I can’t afford to do such a thing here so I will tell you only the very basics of it.
First of all, enable WPA2 encryption with a password. If your Rooter does not support WPA2 encryption then you should replace it right now, older types of encryptions tend to have security exploits. WPA2, of course, will have too, but it’s much harder to hack a WPA2 than anything else.
You can change your password by logging in to the DHCP server of your Rooter. To do so, you must find the IP address of your Rooter which should be somewhere on the back of your Rooter or your official papers that your ISP provider gave you, when you insert that IP address you’ll be required to insert a username and a password, you can also find these in the same way that you found the IP address of your Rooter.
After you log in you can go to your settings and change your encryption password and the encryption protocol. As I said before if you don’t see the WPA2 as an option on your settings, change your Rooter with one that supports this. While you are logged into your Rooter, you should also enable the firewall that it has if it’s not enabled by default. If I’m not mistaken all Rooters have a firewall.
Install a VPN
This is only for those of you who want to hide your information when browsing the web. Installing on a Mac or Windows is easy and there are plenty of resources online to help. There are both paid and free VPNs, you can choose the one that fits your needs on your own.
A VPN will change your IP address to your VPN provider’s address, in that way no one will be able to see your real name, where you live, or anything like that, as long as you don’t provide information about you yourself, then a VPN will be able to completely hide your privacy.
Do keep in mind though that a VPN will not be able to protect you from any legal actions, let’s suppose that you do something illegal with your PC and FBI decides to find out who is that bad guy. Of course, the one that they will find in the first step, will not be you, it will be your VPN provider, but do you think that your VPN provider will try to protect you from the FBI and get imprisoned for protecting a criminal?
Personally, I highly doubt it, no VPN provider will try to protect you from illegal activities. Alright maybe if you have a VPN that you pay for, you could perhaps download an illegal torrent or something and get away with it, but that is as far as you can go. But we don’t need to mind such things right? We are all legal peace loving citizens that obey the law here, or maybe not?
Things to look out for
So at this moment, we have taken all the necessary steps that will ensure our safety, but that doesn’t mean that we can just roam wildly on the internet without minding a damn thing. Taking some extra precautions to further protect ourselves wouldn’t hurt, and in that way even if something were to happen we would be able to work with our PC again in a matter of minutes.
So here is the list of small things that we need to look out for even if we are protected
- Suspicious websites
- File encryption
You should always keep an eye open for suspicious websites, you might have security software installed but that does not mean that you should just click on anything that you see. For example, have you ever received an email saying that you won a car in a competition and that you need to give them your information in order for them to send it to you?
This is something that security programs can’t detect and protect you from because quite simply there is no virus to be detected, it’s simply a message and the only one who can protect you from scams like these, is you. Don’t just click on anything and for God’s sake don’t provide your information and your bank account details to people that you know nothing about.
All in all, you must keep an eye open for weird looking ads, websites, applications, links, emails and everything in between. I know that this is tiresome to do but if you truly want to be safe then you must do it.
If you have really important files on your PC you might want to encrypt them to make sure that no one but you will be able to see them, you will be able to find various encryption applications that can do this job, or if this is of highest importance to you, you might want to consider installing Linux which enables you to encrypt it by default.
There are hackers that can delete these files or encrypt them on their own, but they can not open them and see their contents, that is because when using an encryption key, no one will be able to open the encrypted file unless he has the required key that only you have, so this would be a good way to at the very least prevent people from seeing your files.
If you want to make sure that you won’t lose your important files then you might want to create a backup of them.
By creating backups of your files you can be sure that even if you were to get hacked and you had to completely format your PC, your important files would be safe. I suggest that you use an external hard drive to backup your files that you will only connect to your PC when you need to backup your files, that way you can be sure that even if your whole operating system had to be formatted, your files would be intact.
Another way to backup your files is using the cloud services, that is something that you can do if you’re afraid that you might lose your external hard drive or in case that your hard drive gives up on you, cloud services are there to make sure that you will not lose your files no matter what happens.
In fact now, there are applications in the market that can create a backup of your whole operating system, those usually require payment though and the ones who use them are professionals that want to make sure that if their PC was infected, they could get it up and running in a matter of minutes. The average user would not be concerned with something like that.