Computer security: heck, your system takes care of that for you, right?

Wrong.

While many people think of computer security as something that’s built-in when they purchase a PC or laptop, it’s not so much a function as it is a series of practices computer users adopt.

In other words, good computer security is simply a list of simple things you do to protect yourself online. When you take this list seriously, you cut down on your risk of emergency repairs and data breaches. When you don’t, you put yourself at risk for malware, viruses, and more.

5 Essential Computer Security Practices

Want to keep your computer clean and bug-free? Here are five things to do right now.

1. Allow Automatic Updates

If your system isn’t already updating automatically, enable those updates now. While the software you use every day is likely advanced and useful, there’s also a high possibility it’s riddled with security problems and bugs. When it comes to software, this is just the natural state of things. Think of how often a brand like Mac updates its software to fix small bugs or glitches. It happens, even to the most trustworthy companies out there.

The good news is that software manufacturers are usually pretty on top of it when it comes to fixing the problems with their platforms and that all you have to do to take advantage of these fixes is allow your software to update automatically. Up-to-date software is less vulnerable to threats and much easier to use than out-of-date programs.

2. Run an Antivirus Program

One of the most prevalent (and dangerous) misconceptions in the computer world is that certain units, like Macs, can’t get viruses. Unfortunately, this just isn’t true. All computers can fall victim to viruses and malware, and it’s essential to protect your computer accordingly.

With this in mind, run an antivirus and anti-malware program in the back of your system at all times. There are dozens of free and paid versions out there, and many will block and neutralize threats before you even realize anything has happened. To get started with a reliable brand, look into Kaspersky or Avira.

3. Build Stronger Passwords

If you’re guilty of using the same password over and over again, don’t fret. You’re not alone. While many of us use the same login for our banking system as we do for our social media accounts, it’s easy to see how this approach can put your sensitive information at risk. If someone manages to breach one of your accounts, they’ve got a good shot of compromising them all.

Because of this, creating stronger passwords is essential. Unfortunately, the passwords most platforms consider “Strong” are virtually impossible to remember, and typically involve a long, meaningless string of numbers and letters.

Luckily, a password manager can help you not only create stronger passwords but automate them, so you don’t have to keep them all in your head. Do some research to find a free or paid password manager that suits your needs.

4. Learn to Recognize Spammy Links

Viruses that use links and attachments to infiltrate your computer have become much more advanced in recent years. While a spammy link used to look like a spammy link, today’s hackers are great at disguising themselves in emails that look legitimate.

With this in mind, you’ll need to become more vigilant and recognizing spammy links and attachments before you open them. One of the easiest ways to do this is simply to hover your mouse over the link and take note of the destination that appears at the bottom. Watch out for anything that is different than the link mentioned, or has odd extensions.

5. Don’t Leave Your Tech Unattended

Old-fashioned computer or tablet theft is one of the easiest ways for someone to gain access to your sensitive information. With this in mind, don’t ever leave your computer or tablet unattended in a personal place. You should also install a passcode on your system, so a stranger won’t be able to break in.

Better Computer Security Starts Here

Protect your data and avoid troublesome bugs and viruses by brushing up on your computer security skills. It’s simple, fast, and one of the most efficient ways to save the money and stress associated with emergency fixes.

To learn more about good computer security, visit the techs at Computer CPR today!