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Protecting Your Computer from Hackers

Take steps to keep your computer from being hacked.

I hate to admit it, but I was a victim of my business laptop being hacked and damaged to the point that I had to purchase a new one. Computer hackers have been in the news lately wreaking havoc with government websites but homes and small businesses like mine aren't immune to such attacks. Some ways to foil the hackers:

1. Have a secure password strategy.
Use a different password for each major login you use and change passwords regularly. Search online for good password management applications that can simplify these tasks

2. Set access rules.
You'd be surprised by how many people freely broadcast their Wi-Fi addresses without restricting access to their computers. Be sure to activate settings that restrict access.

3. Keep anti-virus programs updated.
Make sure your anti-virus program is set to update automatically. Anti-virus software companies stay on the lookout for new threats and develop code updates to combat them.

4. Beware of all e-mail attachments.
Hackers often use attachments to deliver computer viruses. Only open attachments you're expecting to receive. Even if the e-mail comes from an address you know, check to make sure that person sent it. Hackers can easily steal e-mail addresses. Look out for e-mails sent to large lists of people you don't know.

5. Back up often.
Backups will protect you from a great deal of damage from hackers—and natural disasters. With a backup, you can quickly recover software, files and website content, losing only data entered since the last backup. You'll be able to keep operating while systems are fixed.

6. Delete software you don't use.
Over time, computers collect all kinds of plug-ins, and some are security risks. Delete any plug-ins or other software code you don't need or use.

7. Don't forget physical security.
Make sure no one walks away with your computers or hard drives. Lock your office door if you'll be away for a while, or install lockable laptop cables. Do not attach unknown hardware to your computer.

8. Get cyber insurance, if you have a small business.
Cyber risks are not included on standard insurance policies, but coverage is available. You can insure for a range of computer risks: business interruption, lost income, denial of service, crisis management, privacy and security liability, media or web content liability, even cyber extortion. Policies are offered by many large insurance companies.

I hope the above information was helpful and keeps your computer protected and safe.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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