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What data on my PC can be viewed on the internet?

Question: You always hear about companies being attacked by hackers. So I asked myself: How well protected is my computer against online attacks? Can hackers snoop on my data and documents via the internet?

Answer: Without protection your computer would be as wide open as a barn door, and it would be a breeze for any reasonably experienced hacker to access all your data. While there is some default protection that safeguards your data, you can always boost your defenses over and above this.

Protection function 1: Windows Firewall

Besides an antivirus program, Windows 10 PCs have a firewall that protects computers against internet attacks. It blocks all unsolicited inbound data packets. Conversely, it only lets through data that your computer has actively requested. It blocks everything else – including attacks from the internet. This is why you should always take the notification “Windows Firewall has blocked […]” seriously. You can only unblock the program or app in good conscience if you actually started the program or app displayed in the notification window. At the same time you should add the program or app to the list of allowed apps and features.

Protection function 2: The router

Usually, you connect to the internet via a router. This also has a hardware firewall that protects your computer against unsolicited network access attempts from the internet. These hardware firewalls offer a great additional layer of protection against online threats. And as they run independently of your computer, they are not as prone to attack.

Protection function 3: User Account Control

We’ve all heard of User Account Control. This protection function always alerts us if you make changes to your PC settings or want to install programs or apps. Each time it pops up, Windows 10 “asks” you to confirm the action by clicking Yes. Some files, like certain system files, cannot be accessed even with admin rights. User Account Control thereby protects your computer against malware and unintended system changes.

Protection function 4: The antivirus program

Good antivirus programs such as Avira Internet Security Suite prevent hackers from planting malware like Trojans on your computer and taking control of it. That said, if a Trojan does end up on your PC, the attacker can access virtually all your data and even upload it to the internet.

Top tips against internet data theft

Follow our top security tips for maximum data protection:

  • Even your router has an operating system that hackers can attack. As such, it’s essential you change your default router password for a long one and
  • Configure Windows to be as secure as possible and ensure that all It’s already important to bear in mind that Windows 7 support ends on January 14, 2020. So don’t delay – upgrade to Windows 10 before this deadline.
  • Keep all programs and apps updated and install updates right away. This also goes for your browser.
  • Encrypt your important data. Once you’ve done so, the hard disk will only cough up the information once the correct password has been entered. Discover here how to do this using VeraCrypt.
  • Use a password vault. If you do, you’ll only have to remember a single secure master password. It makes it a breeze to manage as if they were safely locked away in a digital Fort Knox.

This post is also available in: German