PC Magazine

12 Simple Things You Can Do to Be More Secure Online

These tips for being more secure in your online life may be reminders rather than revelations for most of our readers, but they’ll all help keep you safer.

1. INSTALL AN ANTIVIRUS AND KEEP IT UPDATED

We call this type of software antivirus, but it actually protects against all kinds of malicious software. Ransomware encrypts your files and demands payment to restore them. Trojan horse programs seem like valid programs, but behind the scenes, they steal your private information. Bots turn your computer into a soldier in a zombie army, ready to engage in a denial of service attack, spew spam, or whatever the bot herder commands. An effective antivirus protects against these and many other kinds of malware.

In theory, you can set and forget your antivirus protection, letting it hum along in the background, download updates, and so on. In practice, you should take a look at it every now and then. Most antivirus utilities display a green banner or icon when everything is hunky-dory. If you open the utility and see yellow or red, follow the instructions to get things back on track.

Whether you’ve chosen a simple antivirus or a full security suite, you’ll need to renew it every year. Your best bet is to enroll in automatic renewal. With some security products, doing so enables a malware-free guarantee. You can always opt out later, if you get the urge to switch to a different product.

One more thing: If your antivirus or security suite doesn’t have

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