How to Keep Your Computer Safe From Online Threats
Going online has a lot of perks. It keeps you connected, helps you stay organized, and provides endless entertainment.
But the Internet also has its risks. Accessing online content can make you vulnerable to viruses, cyber-crime, and other online threats that can damage your information and your devices.
Don’t worry – you can enjoy the benefits of the Internet while still protecting yourself against online threats. You just have to stay informed. Let’s look at a few common online threats, and how you can protect your information and your devices against them.
What are some of the most common online threats?
Malware: Malware stands for “malicious software.” It refers to software that is programmed to infect your computer, gain access to your data, or use your network. Most malware is downloaded from the Internet. According to SecureList.com, there are over 91.9 million URLs with malware on the Web.
Phishing: In a phishing scam, a hacker attempts to get access to your personal information by posing as a legitimate institution. You might get an email claiming to be from Amazon, prompting you to enter your username and password or update your credit card information; but instead of going to Amazon, your personal information goes directly to a hacker.
Viruses: Viruses, a type of malware, are software programs designed to infect your computer. Like a human virus, computer viruses can spread throughout your PC, and spread to other devices. Viruses can cause major problems to both hardware and software on your devices.
Worms: Worms, like viruses, can infect multiple devices by replicating and spreading through a network. But unlike viruses, worms don’t need to piggyback on existing software. While viruses do most of their damage on a single device, worms can harm an entire network of devices.
Trojans: Trojans are kind of like phishing scams. They’re software programs that seem legitimate, but are really designed to attack your devices. A Trojan might disguise itself as an antivirus software program – but when you download or run the program, it will gain access to your information, change or delete files, and harm your computer.
How can I stay safe online?
It seems like there are threats everywhere online – and these are only a few of the most common. But it’s not hard to keep yourself safe online, if you know the right precautions to take.
Here are a couple of great tips to better protect yourself, your information, and your devices online:
1. Password-protect your accounts.
The number one thing you can do to protect your online information? Use a password – or several. Although passwords aren’t totally foolproof, protecting all your accounts with a strong password is one of the easiest ways to be safer online.
The best passwords include a variety of lowercase and capital letters, numbers, and symbols. Maintain your passwords by changing them every few months (or anytime your accounts may have been breached). Use a different distinct password for each account, and never tell anyone what they are.
2. Be cautious of online content.
Some online threats, including phishing scams and Trojans, use seemingly legitimate content to gain access to your information. Prevent these threats from infecting your computer by being wary of the kinds of content you open and download.
Verify that emails are genuine by checking for noticeable details like logos, spelling, and grammar. If you’re suspicious of a download or a link in your email, try accessing it through the company’s website instead of clicking through. When in doubt, always call or email the company in question to check for authenticity.
3. Get a Protection Plan for your Internet service
HughesNet offers Express Repair plans to ensure that your HughesNet service will be efficiently and quickly restored if a problem ever occurs.
Basic or Premium plans are available and include live technical phone support (toll-free), and if needed, a certified HughesNet technician will come to your home or business to restore service.
With Premium service plans, if a home visit is deemed necessary, a technician will be onsite by 5:00 PM the next business day.