Home computers aren’t just used for keeping recipes or home budget spreadsheets, many people work from home these days, either as a freelancer, bringing work home from the office, or as a full or par-time remote worker.
Large corporations like Apple and U-Haul have entire customer support teams that are all working from a home computer in different corners of the world.
The point is that home computers need protecting against hacks and viruses just as much as office computers do, no matter whether you’re using it for personal or work stuff, or both.
Technology Visionaries works with a number of clients that range from multi-location organizations to smaller home-based businesses and no matter whether we’re working on one computer or multiple, there are key safeguards we put in place to keep networks and devices safe from cyberattacks or unauthorized access.
40% of households are affected by computer viruses
Whether you’re safeguarding a graphic logo design for a client or years of precious vacation photos, one virus getting into your home computer can cause you to lose all your data, or worse.
Here are a few more home computer safety statistics from a Microsoft Security Intelligence Report and Consumer Reports, courtesy of small business marketing advisor Brandon Gaille:
- 1 million households lost money or had accounts compromised due to phishing emails.
- 16 million households have experienced a serious virus issue within the last 2 years.
- $4.55 billion is the estimated cost to all households impacted by viruses, spyware, and phishing.
- 8 million home computers have experienced spyware infection in the last 6 months.
Too often people let their guard down at home. They think a serious hacker is looking for bigger fish, like a corporation. But actually, the cybercriminals often look for low hanging fruit, and home networks are usually less protected than corporate computer networks.
But before you start to worry about who might be lurking in the dark corners of the internet trying to plant a virus or malware, we’ve got some good news! There are some simple steps you can take to protect your home computer and greatly increase your defenses against spam, viruses, and hacks.
10 Easy Ways to Protect Your Home Computer
Our Cybersecurity Team at Technology Visionaries has decades of experience battling all types of computer and network threats, so we know the best methods to stop them in their tracks.
Here are 10 proven steps you can take to beef up your home technology security.
An easy way to protect every device in your home (or small business) is OpenDNS Home, a free platform offered by Cisco. By having the ability to edit certain Domain Name System (DNS) features, you can take control of several security options.
OpenDNS Home has over 50 settings you can customize for filtering out phishing websites and other inappropriate sites. You can also increase loading time for websites. OpenDNS is used by over 30 million homes, schools, and businesses.
It’s been around forever, but still many people don’t have a good anti-virus software protecting their computer. These programs can quarantine suspect email attachments, block viruses trying to download from malicious sites, and more.
Just remember to go with a trusted anti-virus maker (like McAfee or Kaspersky), not just anything that pops up on a search, because bogus anti-virus downloads are an easy way to infiltrate a home computer with malware.
System immunization through programs like CryptoPrevent proactively stops malware from attacking your network and device. It’s most well known as the original CryptoLocker (a type of ransomware attack) prevention tool.
Ransomware ia a type of cyberattack that locks you out of your computer files, and the hacker then demands you pay a ransom to regain access.
Don’t Run as an Administrator
Many people run as an administrator on their system, which allows their login access to everything. The problem is that if a hacker gains entry on your login, they also can access your entire system.
By not using an administrator login you can limit access to malware infections. Your inconvenience is limited, because you would only need to type in the administrator password if you run across something that requires it.
Use Chrome with Ad-Blocker
Google’s Chrome browser has a powerful ad blocking feature that can not only stop annoying ads from popping up but can also keep dangerous ones that may have a virus from getting in front of an accidental click.
Use a Password Manager
Easy to guess passwords like “12345” or “letmein” are a surefire way that hackers gain access to a home computer or other network. Using a password manager like RoboForm or LastPass can ensure you have login passwords that are secure and that you also don’t have to remember.
Automatic Windows Updates
Those operating system updates that Windows sends from time to time, may be annoying if you’re in the middle of something. But, they actually can contain important safety patches to fix system vulnerabilities. Stay safe by turning ON automatic updating in the Windows Update settings in your Control Panel.
The Windows (or Mac) operating system isn’t the only thing on your computer that needs regular updates for security reasons. Use an automatic patch program like Patch My PC (supports 130+ applications) or Ninite (supports 85+ applications) to ensure all your apps are automatically updated.
If you don’t want to use a password manager, then you should have a strong password for your main computer login and other important logins (like social media accounts, bank accounts, etc…)
Strong passwords include:
- A mix of uppercase and lowercase letters
- A number and symbol (like #)
- A combination of two words that are unrelated (like “umbrellaelephant”)
- A minimum of 12 characters
It’s usually after a data loss incident like a virus or computer crash that in hindsight we knew we should’ve had a reliable backup. Nothing protects your data like having it on secure backup system, like OneDrive or Google Drive, so in the event of a catastrophe the damage is limited.
Looking to Secure a Home or Business Computer?
Technology Visionaries are experts at computer security and can easily implement the above steps (and more) to give you the protection you need. Contact us online or call 732-587-5960 today to stay safe out there!