Tips for computer and online safety

The internet is the primary way for viruses to spread and as many as a quarter of a million new online viruses are created daily! It’s important to be informed of what viruses are out there. Did you know there are steps you can take to prevent online threats before they even have a chance to strike?

1. Never skip an update – this includes updates to your FixMeStick, antivirus program, browser, and operating system. These updates often contain improvements to vulnerabilities within the programs and systems which viruses use to attack your computer. We suggest enabling automatic updates.

2. Back-up your important files – use an external hard drive or online software to backup your files. This is the safest way to store your information so you never lose it.

3. Never open emails from unknown senders – simply delete emails from unknown senders before even opening them. These are likely phishing emails that contain malicious attachments that will expose you to malware.  If you’re ever unsure, run a FixMeStick scan right away.

4. Make changes in password security – ensure that you are using the strongest password possible and using Dashlane to help manage them.

5. Disable or uninstall Java. The Java program is notorious for security breaches (note: not the same as Javascript). Hackers will often use this program to access your computer. This is an older plug-in used to see certain content on web pages, it is rarely used anymore.

6. Install a 2-way firewall – this creates an incoming and outgoing network barrier to prevent threats from entering or tracking your computer.

7. Understand the difference between http and https – a website that uses https:// at the beginning of its URL is more secure than one that uses http://. https:// websites use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security) which doubly encrypts your outgoing data. Ensure that if you are entering any credit card, bank, or personal information, the website address begins with https://.

8. Scan your computer using an external device – to ensure you have removed hidden viruses, run a FixMeStick scan in partnership with an up-to-date antivirus, like McAfee.

Following this simple steps will help you not only keep a clean computer but browse the web with peace of mind!