PC security can be so easy. If you follow these 10 golden rules, you can protect yourself from the most common dangers.
Note: For experienced PC users, there are few surprises to be found here – but our well-written 10 rules on PC security are perfect for bringing newbies and less tech-savvy family members, friends and acquaintances up to date. Feel free to share the article – we are happy about any “PC drama” averted in this way.
Rule 1. Make a regular backup
This is the most boring but ultimately the most important rule for the security of your data. You can never completely protect yourself from Trojans and disk crashes. With a BackupHere’s going to matching products on Amazon.de! then your data will not be lost.
How often? That depends on how important your data is to you.
Where? On an external disk, which is otherwise disconnected from the PC.
By which? Just copy! Or with tools like Ashampoo Backup (formerly Ocster) or Personal Backup.
Rule 2. Install a common security suite
The common security suites all offer a high level of protection in all security areas of your computer. They protect against attacks from the web, e-mails or USB sticks.
- Is there a free suite? Yes, Avira or Avast as freeware are not worse, but more annoying through advertising.
- What about the Defender included in Windows? Better than nothing, but lower in protection level.
Download Avira: https://www.avira.com/
Rule 3. Update Windows and all other programs
Since almost all programs are connected to the network, they all contain security holes. They are only fixed by updates.
Which are the most important ones? Operating system, Internet programs (especially the browser plug-ins Flash, Java, Acrobat) and the security programs.
Are automatic updates advisable? Yes!
Rule 4. Use secure passwords everywhere
The more important an account is to you, the safer the password should be – depending on how momentous the loss of the account would be.
What is a secure password? 12 characters, with numbers and special characters, no linguistic terms.
I can not remember 12 characters! Take a password manager like Keepass.
Is a password sufficient for all accounts? Unfortunately, no. If a hacker finds an access code, he’ll get into all your other accounts.
Rule 5. Create a user account for yourself
In Windows you should never work with the admin account or even surf. Create a simple account from the beginning and get used to working with it in everyday life.
Is not that often awkward? Rare. Windows then only occasionally asks for the admin password, e.g. for new installations.
Rule 6. Beware of browser scripts and plugins
The main gateway for pests is the web. Malicious pages (or malicious banners on benign pages) install TrojansHere’s on matching products on Amazon ! about gaps in browsers and its plugins.
Are not the updates mentioned in point 3 enough? It is better if you limit the execution of plugins in the browser in such a way that you need to start this content with just one click.
That’s awkward! Goes so. Most content comes now with HTML 5 and no longer with plugins.
Then the problem is only relocated to the browser! Correct. That’s why it makes sense to restrict scripts. Here the Firefox add-on NoScript has proven itself.
I only see empty, white pages! The trick is to selectively release exceptions until the frequently visited pages work.
A short, not too expensive learning process.
Rule 7. Be careful with foreign equipment
Every USB stick and every USB drive can transfer viruses and Trojans to your PC. So be careful and do not include every stick that someone offers you (for example, at a trade show with more info). A popular transshipment point for viruses are e.g. Photo booths where many users connect sticks. In the machine often runs XP.
Does the security suite protect me? In most cases yes, but there are always new Trojans that are not recognized by the security programs.
Are there any other dangerous devices? Yes, the entry gate can be any Internet-enabled device, eg. Routers (see below), wireless repeaters or smart TVs. All have an operating system that is often not updated by vendors and thus remains patchy.
How do I protect myself from this?
Keep firmware up to date as much as possible and protect your PCs with a security suite.
Rule 8. Be careful with foreign data
The same as for foreign devices also applies to foreign files. Most files can potentially cause damage, but the risk for executable is far greater. This includes not only .exe files but also scripts embedded in other documents, especially office macros.
Then I can no longer accept Office data? However, since version 2007 MS-Office no longer starts macros automatically. At the top is a bar with the message Enable content or similar.
You should not click on it, because then start the macros, including any Trojans.
Can I trust documents from friends? Not necessarily. Especially by mail, viruses often come from the right e-mail addresses, because the sender can be forged.
Are there any more dangerous files?
Yes, e.g. Codecs to download for internet videos. This is a popular hacking trick on Facebook & Co. To watch a movie, you should reload a code. There is usually a Trojander in it.
Rule 9. Secure your router against hacker attacks
Your router is a central point of attack on your home network, an attacker has set here, he can largely unnoticed your network and control all devices. You should protect the router very well. This starts with a very secure password for the web interface (20 random characters, for example generated with Keepass) and ends with updates to the firmware.
How do I secure the WLAN? Again, you should take a safe and long key and change it regularly. Choose as encryption standard for the wireless network WPA2 (CCMP), no other. If one of your devices does not support it, you should replace the device.
What about my shared services?
Each of these services (usually: remote access to the router or NAS) poses a potential risk. Open as few ports as possible in the router firewall (keyword: port forwarding), preferably none. Because every open port is a gateway to your entire home network.
PC security: Rule number 10 – Be careful in foreign networks
If your laptop is part of a foreign or, worse still, an open Wi-Fi, you should pay special attention. You are in the same network segment with all computers, so many security mechanisms do not work.
Windows asks me what kind of network it is. Right, be sure to select guest or public network and check that in the network settings. There you should definitely disable the file and printer sharing.
Is that enough for protection? No. In addition, you should only surf with VPN (for example Avira Phantom, Spyoff or Okay Freedom). This prevents special attacks on logins and at the same time protects you from the curious operator of the hotspot, through whose router all data flows.