Aug 5, 2016
As long as computers have exchanged data over networks, hacking has been a constant concern. You’ve seen the public safety warnings and tried to guard your identity by shredding mail and receipts and covering the keypad when entering PIN numbers, but is it enough? Although no hacker protection is completely foolproof, you can significantly reduce your vulnerability to hacker attacks with a combination of computer security measures and a healthy amount of suspicion.
Microsoft bundles Windows-based computers with basic security software to protect users from malware and hackers. The Windows Firewall is Microsoft’s solution for protecting computers from outside intrusion, while Windows Defender helps keep the computer virus-free. You can confirm that these programs are running by clicking the “Windows Firewall” and “Windows Defender” icons on the Control Panel and confirming that each displays a green check mark. You can also protect your computer by downloading Windows updates automatically. When you click the “Windows Update” icon on the Control Panel, you should see the message “You’re set to automatically install updates.”
If you prefer to use a third-party solution to protect your computer from hackers, you can find comprehensive security software from a variety of online sources including McAfee, Norton, AVAST and AVG. Some of the features you can expect to find in third-party security software may include privacy protection, automatic backups and protection from viruses. Whatever software you use, check for updates periodically; new threats appear online every day.
Computers are better protected from hackers than ever before. For this reason, hackers often need a little help from you in order to do any serious damage. For example, a hacker might call random numbers on a list and claim to be a representative of a popular social networking website. He might claim that your account has been hacked and ask for your password so he can “initiate an investigation.” This tactic is called “social engineering” and it is commonly used in scams both online and offline. Armed with your email account and password, the hacker could log in to your social networking accounts and any other accounts using the same password, completely bypassing any security software on your computer.