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10 Checkups You Should Be Doing On Your Computer

In today’s busy world it’s easy to take computer safety and security for granted. That is until you get hacked. Then you start thinking about all the things you could’ve and should’ve done to ensure your privacy and keep your information safe. Here’s a look at 10 computer checkups you should be doing on a regular basis.

1. Keep antivirus software up-to-date

Even the best antivirus software will put your computer at risk if you fail to keep it up-to-date. Make sure that a reputable antivirus program is installed on your computer and get in the habit of scanning your computer for viruses and updating antivirus software at least once a week.

2. Keep malware protection software up-to-date

Just like antivirus software, it’s critical to install, frequently run and regularly update reputable malware protection software. A number of reliable applications can be found at download.com and are available as freeware.

3. Keep operating systems updated

As we all know, operating systems are far from perfect. They often contain bugs and security holes that need fixes in an effort to keep your computer running smoothly and safely. These fixes are found in the updates. When new updates become available from the developers, they should be installed immediately to prevent potential problems. These systems can also run faster, smoother and utilizing WAN optimization can benefit the data transfer efficiency.

4. Exercise caution when using the Internet

This is common sense 101 and we’ve all heard it before, but when surfing the web you need to be cautious about what you’re clicking on. If you’re tempted to download something illegally, don’t do it. If you are lured by free offers, stay away from them. The same holds true for porn sites, as they are notorious for harboring malware and spyware. The best rule of thumb is to avoid clicking on anything that is suspect.

5. Be savvy with social media

Social networking sites offer great ways to stay connected and keep in touch with people and what they’re doing. Just remember that any information you post on social media will be totally accessible to others such as the government, advertisers, college admissions offices and all potential employers you may encounter in the future. Plus, anyone you add as a friend will also have greater access to your posted information. The takeaway? Never post anything you really don’t want anyone else to see and make sure your social network is safe from risk.

6. Avoid opening multi-forwarded emails

We all get emails from well-meaning friends, family members and co-workers that have been forwarded just about everywhere. These are best left unopened, as the likelihood that they contain viruses is fairly high. In addition, spammers love to go after emails that contain loads of email addresses they can use to promote their latest bogus come-ons and campaigns.

7. Lock your screen

Even the most sophisticated security measures will not be enough if you don’t take the time to implement the simpler ones. Locking your screen is a simple practice that will keep your information safe from potential prying eyes and USB devices others could plug in to steal your data while you’re away from your computer. You should also take note of your surrounding to make sure that information you’d rather keep private isn’t visible to those who might be passing by.

8. Change your passwords regularly

As good as your passwords might be, it’s important to change them regularly to prevent your personal information from eventually being compromised by tenacious hackers. Longer, more random passwords are now recommended and you should never use the same password for multiple accounts. While it may be tempting to keep a copy of all your current passwords on your computer, doing so could put all of your accounts in jeopardy.

9. Back up your data routinely

Too busy to back up your data? Should a hack or a system crash occur, you’ll wish you had taken the time to back up your files. All it takes is a few minutes each week to protect your personal files and information.

10. Disconnect and power off

Thanks to most broadband connections, you can stay connected to the Internet 24/7. However, being constantly connected can up the risks of your computer being attacked. For maximum safety disconnect from the Internet and power off your computer when it’s not being used.

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