Ways to keep your computer safe and secure – MyDaytonDailyNews

I’m sure you’re aware there are hackers and viruses out there looking to wreak havoc and steal your hard earned money, sensitive data and personal identity. But please don’t let this scare you away from using computers and technology. Arming yourself with some knowledge and putting some proactive and defensive tools in place can go a long way. So here I share a couple ways you can keep your computer safer and more secure:

Don’t call any phone number your computer tells you to: A common method scammers use to reel you in is to display fake virus alerts on your computer and saying you need to call in order to get your computer cleaned or you need to download or buy some software that can fix it. These are completely false! I know these scammers are good at sounding convincing, but don’t listen to them.

Ignore phone calls out of the blue about your computer: Another method scammers use to reel in victims is to cold call random people, say they have computer problems, and offer help or point you to someone who can help. Don’t trust anyone that calls out of the blue about your computer, even if they say they’re from Microsoft or some other big organization. Legitimate companies don’t cold call people like that.

Be cautious of remote computer support: Not all remote computer support companies are out to steal your money or data, or infect you with viruses, but not have qualified technicians either. Even if you don’t think they’re scamming you, ask yourself why you trust them with your computer. Perhaps find a local computer support company with good reviews that you can also see face-to-face and learn to trust.

Use good antivirus and antimalware: Although no one single antivirus or antimalware program can catch or fix all the viruses and malware out there, you should still use one that’s proven to be good. I suggest Bitdefender Internet Security (www.bitdefender.com) and Malwarebytes Antimalware (www.malwarebytes.com).

Don’t use unsolicited cleaners or boosters: There are many PC cleaners and boosters out there, but many don’t help that much, and especially aren’t worth paying for. If you have these types of programs on your computer and you don’t remember installing them, I suggest not using them unless you’re certain they’re legitimate. If you’d like to check out a legitimate cleaner, try the free edition of Glary Utilities (www.glarysoft.com) or CCleaner (www.piriform.com).

Backup your important documents and photos: Just in case your computer becomes infected or it crashes, I suggest backing up anything you don’t want to lose. Though we can sometimes recover files after an incident, sometimes it’s just not possible or feasible. Backing up to an external hard drive or flash drive is a start, but you might want to consider paying for online backup, like CrashPlan (www.crashplan.com), so your data is safe even if there’s a fire or other physical disaster.

Use content filtering if you have children around: The Internet has tons of useful information and then has tons of worthless information and inappropriate content as well. Children can even stumble upon this when they aren’t looking for it, so it’s a big idea to be proactive. Though content filtering can’t block all inappropriate content, it can certainly help. I suggest using OpenDNS (www.opendns.com) along with adult supervision.

Eric Geier is the owner of On Spot Techs, which provides on-site computer repair and IT services at homes and businesses in the Dayton and Springfield areas. Visit their website at www.onspottechs.com or call 937-315-0286 for more information.

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