If your computer has any contact with other computers at all, there are many things that you should be aware of in terms of protecting your data. To protect data that could be very sensitive, you are going to need to be aware of some of the risks that are present whenever you connect your computer to almost anything at all.
Viruses are a great destroyer of data and the thing to remember is that you can get them from almost everywhere. While the majority of people get viruses through downloads and e-mails, you may not realize that you can even get viruses through devices that you’ve plugged into your computer. Ipods and USB drives can carry viruses and they will be just as detrimental as the ones that you get online; often, they’re exactly the same!
To protect data that you need, there are many preventative measures that you can take. Firewalls are your first line of defense in terms of viruses and if possible, it is always better to prevent viruses than to get them out after they’ve done some damage to your data. A firewall can be a piece of software that you run or a router that has firewall capabilities. If you are on a machine that is running a Windows operating system, there is most likely a firewall you can turn on. You can also download a free one from the internet or purchase one along with your anti-virus.
If firewalls are like taking vitamins to make sure you don’t get viruses, anti-viruses are like taking antibiotics after you’ve already gotten sick. You should run your anti-virus regularly, to make sure that there are no quiet viruses that are doing damage in the background. Remember that an anti-virus is only as good as its latest update. You should update your anti-virus regularly and make sure that it is run on a daily basis. If your computer is showing any signs of slowing down or behaving strangely (redirecting you to webpages you’ve never been to, etc) run your scans immediately and if necessary, look up the symptoms online to see if there is a specific removal tool that is necessary.
In the interest of data protection, there is a lot you can do, but keep in mind that in terms of regular usage, a lot of it is in terms of what you don’t do. For instance, don’t open suspicious e-mails. Similarly, don’t download indiscriminately and make sure your source is reputable.
Data protection is something that anyone who is connected to other computers in any way needs to think about and it is definitely something you should consider well before the worst happens.