Three Key Steps to Secure PC Software

The best way to safeguard your computers, mobile devices and data from hackers is secure PC software. Hackers (also called cybercriminals) attack your computer or other device for various reasons, which include taking, altering and deleting information that you consider important. Contrary to other thieves who often have legitimate uses for the stolen goods hackers have ulterior motives. They are most concerned about unauthorised access to sensitive information. This can happen before you even know that something is not right.

The three key steps to protect your PC software are firewalls, passwords and protection against viruses. If you adhere to these best practices your computer will be significantly less vulnerable to being hacked by hackers, malware or ransomware (software which encrypts your data and requires payment to unlock it).

Change the name of your administrator account. Choose a strong password that contains lower and uppercase letters as well as numbers and computer symbol. Do not use a password that is simple like 1234, as hackers can use automated software to hack passwords that are easy to guess in minutes.

Make sure that your operating system (OS) and other software up to date. Most software updates include security fixes that help protect against hacking. Install all patches, and set up automatic updates if available, to minimize the amount of time you are exposed to hackers.

If you have a laptop or other portable device, ensure that the drive is encrypted when it’s not in use. This is particularly important for UF students. You can enable encryption in Windows by opening Settings > Update & security > Device encryption. This will make it impossible to access the internal drive, as well as the majority of external drives like SD cards.

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