Three Key Steps to Secure PC Software

The most important thing to protect your computers, mobile devices and data from hackers is using secure PC software. Hackers, also referred to as cybercriminals, break into your computer for a variety of reasons. They may steal the data, alter or delete information that you value. Contrary to other thieves which often have legitimate purposes for the stolen goods, hackers have malicious intentions. They are most concerned about having access to sensitive data that is not authorized. This can happen before you even know that something isn’t right.

The three most important steps to ensure the security of your computer software are firewalls, passwords and protection against viruses. If you follow these basic best practices your computer will be significantly less susceptible to being compromised by hackers, malware or ransomware (software that encrypts your data and demands payment in order to unlock it).

Change the name of your administrator account. Select a strong password that includes upper and lowercase letters numbers, computer symbols and numbers. Avoid using a standard password like 1234 because hackers can use automated software to crack passwords that are easy to guess in mere minutes.

Make sure that your operating system (OS) and other software up to date. The majority of software updates include security fixes that protect against hacking. Install all patches, and enable automatic updates if there are any, to limit your vulnerability to hackers.

If you own a laptop or any other portable device that is not being used, make sure the drive is secured. This is especially important for UF Students. Windows allows you to enable encryption by clicking Settings > Update & Security > Device encryption. This will secure the entire internal drive, as well as the majority of external drives like SD cards.