In a world where computer use is necessary and ubiquitous, cyber criminals are always on the lookout for ways to exploit your resources and your data. Malware, ransomware and viruses cause millions of dollars in losses every year. Here are a few tips to help your clients avoid becoming a victim:

  1. Install a firewall on your computer.

Firewalls prevent unauthorized access to your computer. There are a number of free and paid software options for firewalls. Many routers also have firewalls built in. Whatever software you choose, make sure you update it when prompted. Hackers find new vulnerabilities all the time . Updates to your firewall will patch those.

  1. Install antivirus software and run it regularly.

There are a number of excellent free and premium antivirus programs on the market. Installing one and letting it run regularly is the key to keeping malware from ruining your experience online. You should  scan new software individually when it is installed and also run your antivirus software about once a day. Many people with desktops who leave their computers on overnight allow the software to run while they sleep.

  1. Be careful what you download.

If there are books, movies or games you want to download, make sure you get them from a legitimate site. Torrenting sites, and those that offer cracked downloads, can take advantage by including malware in these downloads. To avoid risk, stick with sources that you know. And, even though it costs money out of pocket, buying downloadable files is safer than getting them free from a third-party site.

  1. Know the signs when something is wrong.

In some cases, malware will run on your computer without you noticing. Other times malware will bog your system down. Are you experiencing slower reactions on your computer? You may be running malware. If you have Windows, hit “ctrl+alt+delete” to bring up the Task Manager. Sort to see which programs are using the most memory. If there are names there that are unfamiliar, there is a chance that you’ve been infected with malware.

  1. Keep your computer backed up.

It’s a good idea to back up your computer regularly. You can either do it manually using an external hard drive or back up your files backed automatically to the cloud. This way, if your computer ever does get serious malware and you need to wipe your computer and reinstall your operating system, you won’t lose anything.

Cyber thieves continue to innovate as online communication evolves. Protect yourself from malware and other issues by being careful online and ensuring that your computer is armed with the software that will keep it safe.

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