As the internet continues to grow to cover different aspects of our lives, so does the sophistication of cyber threats to computer systems. Today, you no longer have to queue at the bank just to access your money. You don’t have to pull out a map to check directions or go to the restaurant to eat. Most things are now done at the touch of a few buttons. Sounds interesting, right? But, it comes at a price! The fact that we spend most of our time online means we are leaving traces of our personal data everywhere, making it easy for hackers to do their worst.
Being the most popular desktop operating system with a market share of 87.56%, Windows is the most susceptible when it comes to hacking and other online threats. That is because; more users mean greater profit for cybercriminals. Below we look at some of the most common risks facing PC users and how you can stay protected.
Risks Facing PC Users
Computer viruses are some of the most common computer security threats. They are malicious programs designed to alter the way computers work without the knowledge of the user. Viruses enter your computer through file transfer, opening a spam email or email attachment, visiting an infected website, and downloading free games, among other ways.
Viruses replicate and execute themselves, usually doing harm to your device in the process.
Spyware is another common threat affecting PC users, especially Windows PC users. This malicious program tracks your online footprint or installs other programs without your knowledge for profit or to collect personal information. How? Spyware monitors your online activity, spying on your login credentials, and snooping on your sensitive information. Other types of spyware install additional software on your device and change its settings.
Phishing scams are among the most prevalent methods cybercriminals use to commit a data breach.
It always starts with you receiving an email, instant message, or text message from a “trustworthy person or website.” The email or text message usually contains a link or attachment that, when you click, leads you to a scrupulous website where you are lured into entering your login details. And, just like that, you’ll have shared your information with a potential cybercriminal.
How you Can Protect your Device
Despite the many risks that come with them, computers and computer networks still play an important part in modern life. The good news is that Windows PCs come with many built-in security features. You just need to tweak some settings and use some tools, and you and your device will be fully protected. Here is what you can do to ensure the security of your Windows PC in 2021.
Use a Firewall
Windows PCs come with a built-in firewall—software devised to create a barricade between your data and the online threat actors. A Firewall prevents unwarranted access to your network and alerts you of any intrusion attempts.
Always ensure the firewall is on before going online.
Computer viruses and malware are real. Antivirus software will protect your PC from unauthorized software or code that may interfere with its operating system. After installing antivirus software, don’t forget to run or schedule routine virus scans that will keep your computer virus-free.
Use a VPN
Finally, the best way to ensure total protection to your computer is by downloading a VPN for a PC. A dedicated VPN service offers a secure connection between your network and the internet by routing all your communication through an encrypted virtual shaft. This hides your IP address, making your location unknown to everyone. A VPN also offers security against external attacks.
Keep your OS, Browser, and Apps Up-to-date
It’s always good practice to keep your operating system up-to-date. Most updates come with security patches that deter cybercriminals from accessing and misusing your data. Do the same for your apps and browsers! Also, ensure you assess your browser security settings. For instance, you can disable tracking on your browser to stop websites from tracking your movements.
Install an Anti-Spyware
As mentioned above, spyware is a unique program that secretly tracks and collects your personal data. It is hard to detect and not so easy to remove. Anti-spyware deals specifically with this threat. This software provides instantaneous protection by scanning through all incoming traffic and blocking threats. Windows operating system is popular for a reason—it’s easy to use, it has a wide selection of software, it supports plug & play operation, and has a plethora of games for you to enjoy. This popularity has, however, made Windows PC users vulnerable to online risks. But, as we have seen above, these threats can be easily avoided by following a few steps. Use the above tips to ensure your computer remains secure in 2021 and beyond.