Viruses and Malware can be dangerous and destructive to computers. They can make a computer run slowly, prevent it from booting up, damage parts of the operating system or change how the system operates without the user’s knowledge. They can also be used to steal personal details and send out unauthorized messages. While these technologies are becoming more user-friendly, that doesn’t mean they are without glitches, difficult-to-understand setup instructions, frustrations when they don’t work, and even some malicious online parties that are out to take your money with the threat of losing your functionality or data.
How to protect computers, printers and other devices
Your computer needs anti-virus and anti-malware software. One of the most common reasons for failures or problems in computers (both Windows and MACs!) is the lack of anti-virus software, or expired antivirus software. By making your computer as secure as possible with anti-virus and anti-malware software, you can help protect yourself from a variety of problems – including identity theft.
Also, remember to always update to the most recent software available and apply the latest security patches to ensure no secu- Your Network and All Devices That Connect to It Must Be Protected BY DEDE CATSAVIS rity hole is left open to online predators. And be sure to have all your devices – computers, printers, monitors, modems and routers – plugged into surge protectors. Without them, an electrical storm can do real damage to any of these.
How to protect your network Here are a few things you can do: First, change the name of your Wi-Fi network, also known as the SSID (Service Set Identifier). Changing this name makes it harder for malicious hackers to know what type of router you have. Then, create a strong wireless password – the password that came with the router is usually weak and easily hacked. Also, your router’s placement matters. Place the wireless router as close as possible to the middle of your house. The first benefit is that all the rooms in your house will have the same access to the Internet. The second benefit is that you don’t want to have your wireless signal range reach too much outside your house, where it can be easily intercepted by cybercriminals.
In addition, keep your router’s firmware updated. Like any other software, it contains flaws which can become major vulnerabilities and be ruthlessly exploited by hackers, so it’s important to keep it updated. Sometimes this must be done manually because the manufacturer has not provided auto-updates.
Your smartphone needs to have a password
You need to put a password on your smartphone, so in case of loss or theft no one can get into your data or log in to your apps. Your email, work email, social media accounts, banking and credit card accounts, documents, etc. are all easily accessible should your phone get into the wrong hands.
These are all necessary steps to protect your hardware, network and data. If you aren’t confident in doing these things yourself, they are important enough to get professionals to help you.
Dede Catsavis is founder and owner of Computer Tutors. For 20 years, they have provided computer services to thousands of satisfied, happy customers. Computer Tutors comes to your home or office to work on Windows and MAC computers, set up home networks, put security measures in place and eliminate viruses. They can also help with any of your other electronics. You can reach them by phone at 314-608-7920, and you can learn more about them at www.computertutors.net.