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How to keep your personal computer protected from hackers

When you are not using your Computer, shut it down or disconnect it from the Internet

Hackers are always on the prowl hunting for vulnerable systems - they seem to have nothing else to do. Do not leave your computer unattended for a long time. When not in use, disconnect from the Internet or shut it down. Alternatively, if you are using a cable internet or a DSL line, unplug the line when not in use.

Keep your Browser and Operating system up-to-date with software updates

The software you use and the Internet itself can impact the security of your online activities. First of all, always use a genuine licensed version of Windows or whichever operating system you have installed. Watch for security bulletins that warn you of various security holes or bugs that may impact the software and web browser you are using. It is very important to check the websites of your operating system and web-browser vendors for software patches and updates. Some operating systems and software can be configured to automatically check for new updates.

Install and update Anti-Virus software

Always protect your computer by using up-to-date anti-virus software that is capable of scanning files and e-mail messages for viruses. This will prevent your files from getting corrupted or lost and also prevent your computer from getting infected with virus.

Anti-virus software protects you from Trojan horses. Trojan horses are sent to computer systems typically through e-mail. They are particularly dangerous because they have the potential to allow others to gain control of your computer system remotely, without your knowledge or consent. These programs can capture and send sensitive information stored on your hard drive to any other person who has gained remote access to your computer.

Make sure that you use a reputed anti-virus software. I always recommend Norton Internet Security which I have been using on my personal laptop for several years now. Also make sure that you set your anti-virus software to auto-update so that your system is always updated with the latest virus signatures.

Use a personal Firewall

Any computer or device connected to the Internet that is not properly protected is vulnerable to a variety of malicious Internet intrusions and attacks. This applies to all users of cable modems, digital subscribe lines (DSL) and dial-up lines. However, cable modem and DSL users are particularly vulnerable because both connection methods provide always-on connection capability. The likelihood of a malicious person entering your computer increases significantly the longer your computer is on and is connected to the Internet.

A personal firewall will help protect you from intrusion. Firewalls create a barrier between your computer and the rest of the Internet. A firewall can be a hardware device, a software application or a combination of the two. Firewalls can prevent malicious attacks and block certain types of data from entering your computer or private network. They can also be set up to alert you if anyone tries to access your system.

Scan your Computer for Spyware regularly

Spyware and adware are programs that monitor your Internet activity and potentially relay information to a disreputable source. Never download a free or paid software from an unknown source. It is advisable to buy such software only from known reputed sources.

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About the Author
Rajeev Kumar
CEO, Computer Solutions
Jamshedpur, India

Rajeev Kumar is the primary author of How2Lab. He is a B.Tech. from IIT Kanpur with several years of experience in IT education and Software development. He has taught a wide spectrum of people including fresh young talents, students of premier engineering colleges & management institutes, and IT professionals.

Rajeev has founded Computer Solutions & Web Services Worldwide. He has hands-on experience of building variety of websites and business applications, that include - SaaS based erp & e-commerce systems, and cloud deployed operations management software for health-care, manufacturing and other industries.

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