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How To Protect Your Home Computer From Hackers

Updated on July 28, 2017
Faceless Computer Hacker
Faceless Computer Hacker | Source

What Everyone Should Know About Computer Security.

What exactly does computer security mean?

To put it simply, it is the means by which a computer's hardware and personal data are secured and protected from outside forces.

Anyone who owns a computer of any kind should understand the basics of how his or her computer works, and how to protect your hard drive and the personal information it contains. This includes any family members that may have access to said computer or computers.

You don't have to be an I.T. (Information Technology) whiz or computer geek to be somewhat knowledgeable about what it takes to protect your home computer from hackers and other snoops.

Having said that, even the best computer security software is of little avail if you don't use it properly and keep it updated with the latest versions.

This article aims to take a look at tactics you can use to counter possible cyber security threats, ranging from the basics to a few of the more advanced things you can implement.

Safe Browsing Practices for Your Entire Family

Toddler at the Computer Keyboard
Toddler at the Computer Keyboard | Source

Basic Computer Security Protocols

Most cyber security threats are quite avoidable.

Here are a few important steps for computer users to consider pertaining to web browsing and security:

  • Avoid downloading files or programs that you are not familiar with.
  • Do not click on attachments or links that are unsolicited, particularly those found in emails.
  • Browse safe and secure sites. Look for https: and/or a little padlock symbol in the address bar.
  • Be wary of Instant Messaging (IM) services, especially those that are not encrypted.
  • Use complex passwords to gain access to sites which may contain sensitive information, like bank and credit card accounts.
  • Try not to use the same password on all the sites you may sign up for. If it becomes difficult to remember all your passwords, I recommend using "LastPass" or "DashLane". Both can be found by using your favorite (secure) browser.
  • Keep your anti-virus and firewall software up to date. For Windows users, this includes downloading and installing the latest updates, as these will usually have new security protocols that Microsoft deems important.
  • If possible, shut your computer off and unplug it from any electrical source when not in use. Believe it or not, there is technology out there that can read a spinning hard drive and steal your information without you even knowing it.

Video Explaining How to Protect Yourself from Hackers

Intermediate Computer Security Protocols

My interest in computer security goes back to the late 1980's when the browser on my computer was hacked into. Image trying to explain to your wife why every time she logged on she was faced with being redirected to a barrage of porn sites. Add to that the fact that my PayPal account was somehow compromised, and I very quickly got myself up to speed concerning hacker and the like.

Operating Systems (OS) like Windows will have a basic firewall to help keep out the bad guys, but this alone is not adequate.

Below are programs that I use on my PC at home, and are all free. Some have upgrades available, but all work just fine with the basic edition.

  • Malware Bytes
  • Avast AntiVirus
  • COMODO Firewall
  • Spybot Search and Destroy
  • CCleaner

Lock Down Your Computer

Computer System Lock
Computer System Lock | Source

Advanced Security Computer Protocols

While all of the above tips and tricks are good to use, there are a few more advanced protocols you can use to make your surfing experience even safer:

  • Join a Tor network
  • Use a secure email service such as StartMail, HushMail, or Telegram (the new kid on the block).
  • Set up your own server(s).
  • Use an IP proxy service.
  • Try to avoid Wi-Fi if possible, as it is very easy to hack into a wireless network if you are not careful. Shielded cables are safer, and are actually better for your health due to the EMF being radiated by such technology.

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© 2014 Hal Gall

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