​How To Effectively Protect Your Computer And Data From Malicious Software

In most businesses and corporate organisations, computers and mobile devices contain virtually all the vital data and information that is used for daily operations and management. Therefore, it is vital to know how to protect this precious business information from hackers, computer viruses, and other forms of malicious software. An unprotected computer or mobile device will be prone to attacks from identity thieves and fraudsters who are constantly looking for vulnerable computers to attack. Here are some vital steps to take to implement effective computer and data protection.

Install Firewalls

A firewall is a piece of hardware or a software application that prevents hackers from gaining access to your computer and the files stored in it. Firewalls monitor the network requests coming to or from various network access ports and shut out sources that you don't permit. Hackers frequently search the internet for vulnerable machines by pinging thousands of computers and then waiting patiently for responses. Using a firewall on your corporate server and individual workstations will prevent your machines from responding to these hackers' requests. Some operating systems come with built-in firewalls which are not always turned on. Make sure you switch them on and permit them to be updated automatically from the developer's website.

Install Anti-Spyware

Spyware is a term used to describe software that is installed without your consent in order to 'steal' personal information or keep track of your activities online. A common example is a key-logger. This kind of spyware will capture every single key you press and these will automatically include user-names, passwords, and credit card numbers. If your computer has been attacked by spyware, you may see a sudden appearance of pop-up ads or you will suddenly be redirected to websites that you did not decide to visit. Spyware will also use up precious system resources and reduce the speed and response of your computer. For adequate protection against this type of malicious software, you may use a multi-purpose anti-virus that has spyware protection included in it, or install a separate anti-spyware application. In addition, you should avoid downloading free software programs that include adware and hide spyware in them.

Use Updated Anti-virus Software

Top grade anti-virus software will shield your computers from deadly virus software that can wipe out your data, make your computer slow or cause it to crash. Some viruses even permit spammers to send malicious emails from your email software. Most anti-virus software are set up to scan your computers' ports and devices at start-up and at regular intervals. So all incoming emails and downloadable files are scanned before they are saved on your computer. File access, file copying, and execution of scripts will also initiate anti-virus scanning. If any viruses or suspicious files are detected, they are either deleted or quarantined until you decide to delete them. To keep your computer free from viruses, you must ensure that the anti-virus software is always up-to-date by renewing the license and registration. Most anti-virus packages are set to update themselves by default at regular intervals. This will enable them to recognise newly created threats and viruses.

Use Strong and Complex Passwords

You can make your computers, email and other online accounts more secure by using passwords that are difficult to guess. Use strong passwords and complex passwords as often as possible. Strong passwords are at least eight characters-long and have a combination of upper and lower case letters with numbers and some special punctuation characters. Avoid words that can easily be located in an English dictionary. Some password-hacking programs have been designed to attack security and authentication section of email and online applications with all the words in the dictionary.

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Fix the Security Settings of Your Browser and Operating System

Windows operating systems and browsers are constant targets for many hackers. They are continually trying to locate and exploit the flaws and security holes in these programs. So to protect your computer and data on it, you should ensure that the security settings on your operating system and browser are set at medium or high levels. Most browsers have a 'Tools' or 'Options' menu option that allows you to tweak the security settings. You should also take full advantage of the automatic updates feature in Windows operating systems. Where possible, ensure that you are using the latest and most secure version of your preferred operating system.

Keeping your computers and business information secure is an absolute necessity in today's digitally driven business environment. Using firewalls, anti-virus and anti-spyware, as well as implementing high security settings on your operating system and browser are some of the simple steps you can take to improve data security. Applying the tips and ideas presented here will help you to protect your corporate network and information from hackers, spyware, viruses, and other forms of malicious software.

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