While computers provide users with the opportunity to organize and send information in ways never before imagined, they also provide opportunities for intruders to take advantage of you through stealing the information that you store on your computer. But there are certainly ways that you can minimize your risks and protect your computer from intruders. Here are some tips for protecting your computer from intruders that should help you to get started.
Firewall — In firefighting terms, a firewall is a set of doors that closes automatically in the event of a fire so as to prevent a fire from spreading throughout an entire building. As it relates to a computer, a firewall is a protection that your computer has that blocks access to your computer from intruders. A firewall is one of the most basic protective devices that you should have when you own a computer. Firewalls are easy to install and can be downloaded for free through a variety of reputable sites. Not only are firewalls free and easy to download but they are also easy to update. Updating your firewall is important to ensuring that you have the best protection possible. Intruders such as hackers are constantly finding ways to get around firewalls. These loopholes that are found compromise your computer’s security. The only way to protect yourself from the newest tricks used by intruders is to update your firewall regularly to keep up with the ever evolving skills of hackers.
Protect your passwords — Passwords are like the keys that you use to lock up important sources of information on your computer. But just like a key to a home can be copied or the door can be broken down, simply having a password is not enough. You need to reinforce your password to make certain that it is working as efficiently as possible. One thing you need to do is make sure that you change all default passwords. When you install a new program (such as wireless software) there will be passwords associated with that program. If you fail to change the passwords from the generic administrative passwords that come with the system, an intruder need only be familiar with these default passwords to easily gain access to your computer. You also need to make sure that you make your password case sensitive whenever possible. Also choose passwords that are hard to guess. Things such as your name, anniversary date, pet’s name, etc. are all obvious choices for a password. Think of a number and letter sequence that you can remember but would be very difficult to simply come up with out of the blue.
Know the signs of a secure site and watch out for viruses — Intruders have various ways of gaining access to your computer. Sometimes you are singled out as a target, other times you may fall into a trap set by a hacker. There are a variety of ways that an intruder can trick you into giving them access to your computer. One is by downloading a virus. In order to avoid downloading a virus you should never open an e-mail from someone that you do not know or download a file that you are not expecting. Secure sites are clearly marked as such and a quick glance at the web address should show you whether or not the site you are on is safe. A website that begins with “https” and that has a closed padlock symbol in the browser bar is one that has received certification indicating that it is secure. Be guarded when it comes to shopping online and only give important financial information to sites with these signs of security. Remember that once you leave a site, even if you think that it is operated by the same company, you can never be sure about the security unless you see the “https” and the padlock symbol.