One of the best parts of high-speed Internet is the ability to watch video, read articles and download information in an instant. Unfortunately, Internet speeds and overall PC performance can become threatened when a hard drive is overladen with malware and viruses. There are plenty of online behaviors you can adopt to minimize the chance that these unwanted applications make their way onto your computer. Likewise, there are steps you can take to rid your machine of these intruders after an infection has already taken place. Learning more about the types of online threats capable of slowing down your high-speed Internet connection and strategies to repel them will go a long way toward helping you establish a sound digital defense at home.
“Spyware allows someone to keep track of your activities online and offline.”
Install and update protection software
There are all sorts of malicious programs lying in wait for unsuspecting users. That’s why the Federal Bureau of Investigation emphasized the importance of installing anti-virus software, spyware protection and a firewall. Antivirus software looks to remove harmful programs that have embedded themselves into your computer, corrupting data and otherwise compromising the performance of your computer.
Spyware allows nefarious programmers to keep track of your activities online and offline. They can use this access to steal personal information, which can be leveraged for blackmail and identity theft. Often both of these are packaged with legitimate software or masked as another type of program, leading unsuspecting users to download antagonistic code onto their computers. Antivirus and antispyware software provide protection against these dangers by scanning your computer for traces of their activity. Regularly updated antivirus and antispyware applications are able to stay one step ahead of the latest known versions of common online threats.
Scrutinize email attachments carefully
Often it is in the most familiar places online, such as an email inbox, where you run the greatest risks of being infected by malware or spyware. According to TechRepublic, users commonly ignore warnings regarding opening attachments sent in emails. As a result, inboxes are regularly targeted by programmers of malicious software as opportunities to infect a user’s home computer. You must be incredibly cautious when clicking on links or attachments in emails since selecting the wrong file can lead to a systematic computer failure in just a few minutes. Often, discerning fake links from real ones is extremely difficult.
You also have to keep a close eye on attachments sent by friends and family. Even if the source of the email is trustworthy, it’s difficult to ascertain if your acquaintance has an infectious virus on their computer. Unless you plan on investing in a robust email scanning software solution, it’s best to maintain a strict policy against opening attachments and links received in emails. Failure to do so could expose your computer to a long list of potential threats despite the existence of updated malware and spyware software. If you need to share files with friends or coworkers, use the cloud.
“Talk to your kids about smart surfing habits as well.”
Secure the rest of your network
It’s not enough to focus solely on your PC. Every device networked to your high-speed Internet connection should be protected by some type of firewall or antivirus software. In addition, it makes sense to encrypt your Wi-Fi signal against outside intrusions by hackers and freeloading neighbors as well. Taking these steps will ensure that your PC is protected from infection by another device sharing the same Internet connection. Similarly, this approach will prevent a single virus from destroying thousands of dollars worth of automated equipment and video game equipment if a piece of nasty code travels from the computer to the rest of the devices on the network.
Communicate these tips to the family
At the end of the day, it takes an entire household of tech security savvy users to keep a family computer safe from destructive intrusions. As a result, you’ll need to communicate effective strategies to each member of the family individually if you want your computer to remain clear of viruses and spyware-free.
It only takes one mistake or wrong click to expose the network to a dangerous piece of malware, and infection could put your identity and more at serious risk. It takes more than a few new programs and a family meeting to better protect your computer from harmful code. The entire family must approach Internet safety with a new focus to help maintain a sound, virus-free network.
Keeping the network clean will also help you avoid the cost of repairing and recovering a corrupted hard drive. Likewise, preventing performance-slowing infections will ensure your family will get the most out of your high-speed Internet connection. A few more right clicks than wrong clicks is all it takes to make sure your PC remains protected,