Securing Your Home Computer

By on August 8, 2019
Home Computer

We all know that computer security is important, yet when we are in the day to day flow of work and home life, it is often something at the bottom of the to-do list. Having a secure home computer protects you from direct attacks from hackers who want to gain access to sensitive information such as passwords and confidential documents, as well as malware and viruses that can damage your files. Threats of this nature usually come from the internet. 

With more people now having the option to work remotely, it often means using a work laptop at home, or in public spaces where there is shared Wi-Fi. This can increase the number of threats to your computer. If you are using a computer at home for work, or just want to up your personal computer security, this guide shows you some easy ways to do so.

Anti-Virus Software

There are many options for antivirus software, but whatever one you choose to have on your home computer, it must be robust enough for the job. Having anti-virus software adds another layer of protection that makes it more difficult for cyber–threats to be successful.

Software Updates 

One of the most effective ways to secure your home computer is to regularly update the software that you use. When you run an update on a piece of software, bugs are fixed, and upgrades are applied, helping it to keep up with new forms of cyber-attack. Without updates, software develops security holes that could provide a way in for threats to your computer.

If you have software on your computer that you never use, and forget to update, uninstalling it will remove the chance of it being a weak point through which hackers can gain access.

The good news is that most updates can run automatically, without you having to remember to do it yourself. However, you may need to look at your software settings to make sure it set to do so.

Firewall 

A firewall is a barrier through which traffic enters or leaves a network, and it only allows authorized access to pass through. It shields a network against potential threats from the internet by either allowing or blocking traffic, depending on the security rules that are set. The good news is those home computers will usually have a firewall set already, especially if you connect to the internet via a router. Operating systems also usually have built-in firewalls, so make sure it is switched on in your settings.

User Accounts 

If you have a laptop or a desktop home computer, it is a good idea to set up a user account that can be password protected. While it might just be you and your family that use the computer, having a user account means that should someone steal your computer, or if you lose your laptop in public by mistake, then no one else will be able to gain access to your files with ease.

Be Aware of Emails 

Email threats used to be fairly obvious to the computer savvy, however fake emails that contain links which could harm your computer or prompt you to give information are getting ever more sophisticated. If you are unsure of the source of any email, do not click on any links it has.

Cloud Computing 

Cloud computing is a system that offers security in that any loss of data or files can be retained and restored should a computer be stolen or infected with malware. Cloud definition differs between a public cloud, private, community, and hybrid; however, the same principles of how it works apply. 

Secure Browser 

A browser is an interface you use to surf the web; as such, it is one of the key areas that can be a security risk to your home computer. Browsers such as Google Chrome have a sandbox feature that keeps the rest of your computer protected from most web threats.

Use a VPN 

A VPN, or virtual private network, protect your IP address by replacing it with another from the VPN provider. This helps hide your location so you can stay anonymous, and also stops threats from public Wi-Fi. It also allows you to securely access a business or home network if you are traveling.

Encrypt your Data 

Encryption turn information within files into an indecipherable string of code, which can only be read if another part has the corresponding key to decode it. This helps prevent unauthorized access and stops sensitive information from being available to third parties, even if your security is breached.

Strong Passwords 

It is easy to forget to change your passwords from time to time, but regularly changing will prevent anyone else from guessing or working out what it is. Choose long-form passwords that contain capital letters, numbers and special characters, and don’t use the same passwords for different accounts, as if a hacker gains access to one account, they will potentially be able to access others that have the same password. While you might choose a complicated password, don’t be tempted to write it down anywhere in case you forget what it is.

If you work from home, your employer might insist that you have strong security because of the potential threat that a cyber-attack could have on files that contain sensitive data either to do with the business or its customers. It can be difficult for a business to recover from a cyber-attack, and it can create a loss of income that can see some businesses fail. 

If you just have a computer at home for personal use, it is still likely to have data stored that could have consequences if it gets into the wrong hands, so security is something that we should all take seriously.

Make home computer security a priority to give you peace of mind, whether it is for work or personal use. By being prepared, if the worst should happen, thanks to you taking the above steps, your computer and information will be safe from harm.

James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, a bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek. He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading and knowing about the latest gadgets and tech, whilst offering views and opinions on these topics

 

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Securing Your Home Computer