Keeping your computer safe

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Computers – we all have them and sometimes it feels like we couldn’t live without them. They can help us in all aspects of our life, from shopping and banking, to communicating and working and much more. However, it is important to know that your computer is vulnerable to risks and it’s important to to understand them in order to avoid them. This guide gives you some top tips on how to keep your computer safe:

  • Get anti-virus software – Protecting against viruses or scams is essential to keep your computer and files secure. There’s plenty of software out there and it can be expensive and needs regularly updating for full protection. AVG anti-virus is a good alternative as it is free but effective and can be downloaded safely to your computer. Take a look at their website here.
  • Download updates to your programmes – You will often get prompts to update your Microsoft Office or other applications you use. Whilst it might take a while and seem pointless, updates often include security fixes in them. This is a useful and quick way to make your computer more secure.
  • Take care opening email attachments – Emails attachments can sometimes contain viruses that are sent from criminals attempting to get your information or damage your computer. For example files that end with ‘.exe’ are executable files and should be opened with extreme caution as they can contain viruses. Take a look at our page on email safety to find out how you can protect your computer from these.   
  • Share and save your files securely – Sharing files between can be dangerous and as if it not done through a trusted site it can give people access to your files. Download Dropbox to your computer – it allows you to share save files securely online and it’s really easy to use. It is also a good idea as a backup in case your computer stops working or you accidentally files.
  • Cover your webcam – Some viruses and spyware can allow criminals to access your computer or spy on you through a webcam. They can be difficult to detect so it is a good idea to cover your webcam when not using it to avoid this risk.
  • Create strong passwords – Using a weak password can be risky as a fraudster may be able to access your bank account, purchase items online, send emails in your name. To stop this happening make sure you create a password, you could do this by:
    • Choose three random words with a combination of lower and upper case and numbers or symbols on the end
    • Someone else’s mother’s maiden name
    • Don’t use the same password for everything.
    • Make sure the password to your e-mail account is especially secure, because sometimes you’ll be using it as a way to reset your passwords for other accounts.

There are so many ways that you can help keep your computer safe, so for more information take a look at the article called Protecting Your Computer on the Get Safe Online website.