Serious hacking threats/attempts that cause the government and private companies millions of dollars are routinely in the news these days. What is not reported, however, is the fact that millions of individual computers around the globe face these threats on a daily basis. Fortunately, there are practical tools that you can use to protect your computer from these threats. Below is a list of the top five tools you can use to keep hackers at bay.
Like the fortresses of old, firewalls form a protective ring around your computer from would-be intruders. There are two basic types of firewalls; hardware and software based. The software-based firewalls run and protect only the PC on which they are installed, while the hardware-based ones protect multiple machines simultaneously. Firewalls filter out potentially harmful data from the internet and only allow authentic ones to reach your computer. They also bar unauthorized persons from gaining access to your computer while you are online. They are available from different vendors for different prices, so you should get one as soon as possible (if you do not already have one).
One of the methods hackers use to gain unauthorized access to computers is through program bugs. This is why many companies today release both updates and patches to seal these potential security loopholes. However, it is still up to you to download and install these patches; otherwise you will not enjoy their protection. Some software firms offer optional automatic downloads for their patches, but it is best if you keep visiting their sites and download available security plugins. You can also use utility programs that will keep your computer up to date with security patches and protect you from hackers.
3. Antispyware Technology
These days, hackers use sophisticated spywares to snoop on vulnerable computers. Spyware can be introduced into your machine in a number of ways and start collecting your personal data, which is then used by hackers. Antispyware programs are available that offer reasonable protection from these threats. Some operating systems offer bundled antispyware but you can also purchase others from third-party vendors. You should be careful with third party antispyware, however, because some of them are fake (mostly free versions) and actually carry the real spyware.
4. Wireless Router Security
If you are using a wireless router, you should check whether or not it is secured. Most of these routers have no set security by default, and if you use them like that, you expose your system to hackers. You can either set the basic security requirements or opt for advanced encryption options (if you understand them). You should also set a password on the router so that you can bar unauthorized access to your network.
5. Antivirus Software
There are malicious software programs that can get into your system and snoop on your private data. They mostly come in forms of viruses, worms and Trojan horses. While some of them ‘only’ damage your machine (which is still bad enough), others are designed to transmit your passwords and other security features to hackers. Having up to date antivirus software is your best bet of keeping these dangerous programs at bay.