Computers are made to help us work faster and get more things done, both for personal and business purposes. They can automate tasks and make them easier by using the internet, which helps us do everyday tasks and transactions more quickly and with fewer mistakes.

But computers can also get sick and be in danger. There are things like viruses, malware, and other kinds of threats that can harm them. In 2016, around 40% of computers in American homes had viruses. And worldwide, over 30% of computers were at risk. Just recently, there was a big cyber-attack in the form of “ransomware” that affected at least 150 countries.

Instead of just fixing problems, it’s better to always be careful. Everyone should take steps to avoid different types of threats and risks that could harm their computers. Here are 16 helpful tips to keep your computers safe and secure-

  1. Install Anti-Virus Software

It’s important to have antivirus software on your computer as a regular practice. You can find many free antivirus programs online. Besides viruses, there are also other harmful software like malware, spyware, and Trojans that can make your computer slower.

  1. Update Your OS & Software

Make sure to regularly update your computer. Check if there are any updates for your operating system and software. These updates are important because they fix issues in your system that could make it easier for threats to enter your computer.

  1. Check Your Firewall

The firewall is like a wall that protects your computer from unauthorized programs trying to get in through the internet. Many computer systems, like Windows, already have a built-in firewall. Make sure it’s turned on. For extra security, you can also install firewall software.

  1. Back-Up Your Data

Be sure to create a backup of all your data on external storage. You can do this either online or by using an external device. Send your data to online cloud storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive. This is important in case your computer suddenly stops working due to a power outage or cyber-attack.

  1. Always Scan

You can’t stop other devices like flash drives, external storage, and smartphones from connecting to your computer. However, it’s important to make a habit of scanning these devices thoroughly before using them to prevent viruses from getting into your computer.

  1. Protect Your Email

Your email is a common target for viruses and other security threats. To protect yourself, make sure to activate spam filters or add anti-spam/virus extensions that regularly scan your email for potential threats.

  1. Don’t Click Mail Links

Even if some emails manage to reach your inbox, it’s important to be cautious. Avoid clicking on any links in these emails, especially if you don’t recognize the sender. Many of these emails are sent by fraudsters and phishers pretending to be banks, insurance companies, promotions, games, lotteries, and so on.

  1. Use Trusted Browsers

Stick to well-known and trusted web browsers for your online activities. Firefox, Safari, and Chrome are the most reliable options. These browsers have built-in security features that reduce the chances of viruses and malware infecting your computer. Additionally, you can review the security and privacy settings of these browsers to further enhance their protective capabilities.

  1. Check Website Security

When you visit a website, take a look at its site information. You can usually find it next to the website’s URL in your browser. This information will indicate if the website is labeled as “Secure” or “Not Secure.” However, it’s important to note that even “Secure” websites may not be completely secure as they might use cookies that can potentially invade your privacy.

  1. Be Selective of Sites

It is important to use your judgment and be cautious about the websites you visit. Stick to websites that you are familiar with and trust. It’s best to avoid opening websites related to pornography, gambling, promotions, and similar categories, as they are often targeted by viruses and pose a higher risk to your computer’s security.

  1. Filter Downloads

Certain browsers have a security feature that alerts you before downloading a file. They may warn you if the file could potentially harm your computer. Additionally, it’s essential to scan downloaded files for viruses before opening them, as they might also carry harmful software.

  1. Manage Your Passwords

To enhance your security, it’s important to create strong passwords. Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts. Steer clear of easily guessable passwords like birthdays or initials. Additionally, make it a habit to change your passwords every month to further strengthen your security.

  1. Add Site Blockers

In addition to the security features in browsers, you can use web-based site blockers. These blockers prevent you from accessing websites that may be involved in fraud, phishing, scams, and other threats. You can even customize these blockers to specifically block sites with certain keywords. They can also be helpful in blocking pop-up ads and unwanted websites

  1. Avoid Public Wi-Fi

Be cautious when using public Wi-Fi as someone nearby could potentially access your accounts or steal your passwords without your knowledge. To protect yourself, it is recommended to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN encrypts your connection by connecting to a secure server, providing an extra layer of security and privacy.

  1. Don’t Be Fooled by Online Deals

The internet is filled with ads and deals on almost every website and page. These ads often look tempting and appealing, but they are designed that way on purpose. It’s important to be cautious and avoid clicking on online deals or any ads that you are not familiar with. They could redirect you to websites that contain numerous viruses and pose a threat to your computer’s security.

  1. Disconnect

When you’re not using the internet, it’s suggested to disconnect it. This helps prevent security threats from entering your computer through the internet. It’s a simple preventive measure to keep your computer safer.

In addition to these precautions, it’s a good idea to have a PC technician or IT expert inspect your computer for any signs of viruses, malware, or other issues within the system. They have the expertise to identify and address any potential threats, ensuring your computer stays secure.