Question of the week: Is my computer secure enough?

Question: “I never know if my computer’s security is adequate to protect me from online threats. I use Avira Internet Security Suite, Firefox is installed, I only use Skype to chat, and I’m not registered with any social networks. Is my PC secure enough, or does my system’s security have more holes than a sieve?

Answer: With your set up, you’ve got a tried-and-tested antivirus program – plus the Windows Firewall controls which programs and apps can or can’t access the internet. So technically speaking, you are already surfing the internet very securely. That said, the key weapon in the fight against hackers and data thieves remains common sense. This is because often the only chance malware has of getting on to a PC is if the user is too gullible or too careless in how they use it. You can shut the main entry points for malware and hackers by…

  • Opening emails carefully: Never open unknown file attachments and links that you have been sent. Your email provider’s spam and virus filter – nowadays pretty much standard – is the first line of defense. The rest is achieved with a good dose of caution and your PC’s virus scanner.

    Never click these sorts of links in messages from unknown senders.
  • Using safe download sources: When downloading programs, only use legitimate and trustworthy sources, such as the internet sites of the majority of software developers or familiar computer magazines. What you absolutely shouldn’t do is Google the software’s name directly and then click the search results for unfamiliar websites.
  • Protecting your email address: Use your main email address very sparingly to register with internet sites, and change your email account password regularly. The same goes for personal information such as your address or telephone number – such data has no place on public internet sites.
  • Keeping programs up to date at all times:Cybercrooks often exploit software bugs or vulnerabilities to get at protected data. Updating your browser and all associated plugins (such as Flash or Java) is a must and should be done routinely. It is also important that you promptly install or allow the automatic installation of updates provided by the developer for security programs and other programs you use (such as Adobe Reader).
  • Allowing automatic updates for Windows:Always keep Windows up to date. By default, Windows 10 is configured to download updates automatically and then install them after restarting. As such, be sure to restart your computer at least once every three days.
  • Making regular Windows and file backups: Back up important information regularly to the cloud or an external hard disk. In the case of the latter, be sure not to always leave it hooked up to your computer as certain viruses, especially encryption Trojans, scan for and attack all connected drives. You should also back up Windows regularly (referred to as creating an “image”). The best way to do this is to use a data backup program such as AOMEI Backupper.

    Creating regular data and system backups means you’ll be able to deal with virus attacks without breaking a sweat.

This post is also available in: GermanFrenchItalian