Even the average computer contains information hackers consider to be valuable: bank account and credit card data, PayPal information, your operating system license key, online gaming currency, and more; and of course this problem replicates with your email contacts once they get ahold of those as well. But the question is: why you? How are you targeted? There are many things that make you enticing to hackers, but these are five major (and easily fixable) ways that could put a target on your computer.
Your passwords are lame. While your pet probably couldn’t care less that you used her name as your password, hackers will be more than thrilled it’s the only thing standing between them and your clients’ credit card information. A strong password should contain letters (both upper- and lowercase), numbers, and symbols, and character types should not all be grouped together. For example: instead of ABCabc123#$, try aB3#CbA$c; but don’t make it so complicated you’ll never remember it – it’ll keep the hackers out, but it’ll keep you out as well.
You lack a firewall. Firewalls are like digital strainers between networks: they keep the bad things out and let the good things in. Simply speaking, when you don’t have strainer in place, not only do the good things get in, but so do the bad things.
You’re anti-antivirus. While antivirus software may slow down your computer a little and basically functions like a virus, dealing with a little lag is far preferred over all the malware it’s designed to block. (That includes Mac users – believe it or not, while there are fewer viruses that attack iOS systems, they do exist; so you’re not invincible.)
You don’t update. You know those notifications you get about new system updates? Those often contain security patches designed to keep out new malware. If you’re not updating when you’re supposed to, your computer keeps the same level of protection as the day you got it while viruses are mutating and growing stronger.
The cloud is your best friend. While convenient, few cloud storage options offer encryption, so your data is sitting there unprotected; it’s the digital equivalent of leaving a bank vault open to the public. Don’t put your important data on just any cloud – make sure to use one that does offer encryption for resting data.
So take a moment and make sure your system security is up to date. Your data will thank you.