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With the penetration of more and more computers and smart devices in our lives, the chances of sabotage, phishing, instances of information getting stolen, and devices getting infected has been increasing exponentially. The attack is not limited to computers but also devices that can talk (exchange information / data) with other devices and/or can be connected to the internet. There are many methods through which the devices are attacked but on considerable number of computers the attacks are orchestrated by installing the malware / viruses or by exploiting loopholes in the operating systems or softwares. Following are certain steps that can be taken in order to protect your computer.

  1. Install and use “well known” anti-Virus Programs like Bitdefender, Mcafee’s Total Protection, Pc-cillin of Trend Micro, Norton Antivirus etc. There are a lot of free versions available for personal use as well.
  2. Keep Your System Patched (Windows: Turn on Automatic updates by clicking on Control panel -> System -> Automatic Updates; Macs: Apple logo on top left -> System Preferences -> App Store -> Tick mark next to Automatically check for updates)
  3. Be cautious while opening emails with attachments. Do not download attachment until and unless it is from a “known source” and its purpose is known to you as well as its details (what it contains) are explicitly given in the email. Special care should be taken while downloading files with the extension of exe, pif, scr, bat, doc etc. Do not enable “Macros” in Microsoft Word and Excel files, till you are sure that they are legitimate.
  4. Install and enable a Firewall. Firewall can be hardware based or software based, but in Desktops it is usually software based.
  5. In Windows, use System Restore in case of problems, to restore your system (To enable system restore, go to Control panel -> System -> System Restore), whereas in other Operating Systems there is provision to factory reset.
  6. Do not click on windows that display “Your computer is infected” OR similar messages that lure you in clicking them while surfing.
  7. Take backups of Important Files and Folders. An important aspect to keep in mind is not to replace last backup with latest backup, but keep 2-3 older backups handy.
  8. Use Strong Passwords
  9. Be Careful When Downloading and Installing Programs
  10. Keep popup windows blocked while surfing
  11. Install and Use a File Encryption Program and Access Controls

The above mentioned steps are just few of the many methods that can be used to protect your device, but they are very important. Last but not the least the safety of your computer depends on your intelligence and risk appetite.

Authored By: S M Ahmad