It’s no secret that nearly everyone stores their most valuable information on digital devices and in the “Cloud”.  This information is also valuable to cybercriminals, and unfortunately, they are working day and night to get to your information in various ways. Computer security can be a bewildering and scary place, but with a few simple steps you can greatly reduce your risk. We are offering some tips for you from our own IT manager.

Every platform needs security steps taken, so make sure to learn what is best for your platform. Windows 10 always installs the latest security updates for home users. Check to be sure you get other updates as well. Click Start (the Windows logo in the bottom left corner), then type “Windows update”, then hit ENTER.  On the bottom of this page click “Advanced Options”.  Make sure the “Receive updates for other Microsoft products when you update Windows” is turned on.

Most of the programs on your PC get updated as well. The Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel, etc.) will be updated by Microsoft thanks to that setting you just confirmed above, but other programs like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and really all other programs need to be updated as well.  Each one is different, but most often if you click the “Help” menu and then “about”, it will show any available updates.

The best malware defense is YOU!  Malware is software that is created by cybercriminals to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to your computer system. Keeping things updated is important, but even the latest software can get infected if you get tricked into helping the bad guys. Never click a link someone sends you in an email or chat unless you know who is sending it and you were expecting it.

There are few rules regarding computers and email that are 100% true 100% of the time.  Here are just a few:

  • Your bank or your credit card company will never send you an email asking you to “click here to log into your account”.
  • The IRS does not accept payment in the form of gift cards.
  • The U.S. Government will never cancel your social security number unless you send them money. Ever.
  • The sheriff does not send people with arrest warrants an email before arresting them.

When you see anything like those above you can be rest assured that it is a scam, and you can delete the message and move on with your safe computing day. By taking a few proactive steps, your hardware, software, and private information will prove to cybercriminals that they just can’t hack it.