From government surveillance to nosy neighbors — security software is one of the fundamental components of your computer’s application repertoire. Unless you want to allow cybercriminals to make short work of your defenses, that is. The good news is that you can make your PC more secure by educating yourself and installing what’s needed to make the improvements. So without any further ado, let’s cover some of it today.

1. Password Manager

Whether it’s for online forums, social accounts, online banking, or user accounts on other websites, a password manager is one of the core software pieces to have at hand. A human mind was not made for storing countless numbers of passwords. To work around the problem, many people oversimplify their passwords. And you have to admit, the likes of “12345” or “mypassword” are asking for trouble. Even a 10-year-old kid who lives next door could guess those. Worse yet, others resort to re-using the same passwords over and over again. 

Neither of these practices is a good idea. Instead, you should use a password manager to store your passwords right on your hard drive (or in the cloud if you so prefer). That way, you’ll be able to use a complex password on every website that you visit. And you won’t need to remember any of them. With a password manager, all it takes is one master password to unlock them all.

2. Antivirus Software

Viruses and malware of various kinds are running rampant in the world. Have you ever borrowed a friend’s USB key to copy some files, only to find out a whole nest of it was hiding in there? Without the proper antivirus software, the malware can spread across the entire home network of yours. But with your antivirus defenses up, the USB drive autorun feature gets disabled right off the bat. The alternative way is to do it manually in Windows, but it does require some technical knowledge. In contrast, installing antivirus software saves you from the hassle.

Much like the scenario presented above, you could be infecting others without even knowing. For instance, you could be executing malware meant for Windows on your MAC device. It may not be harming your files, so you wouldn’t know that something is up. Maybe you’d even send the same infected files to your friends or coworkers. If they are not as well-versed in the cybersecurity department, it could lead to some serious trouble. Would you want to be the person who’s careless enough to spread malware even if without knowing?

3. VPN

At any point you’re connecting to the worldwide web, someone on the other end of the line knows what’s up. Even if you’re not subjecting yourself to the public Wi-Fi risks, your ISP knows about every website you’ve ever visited. Depending on the country you live in and the laws that apply, they may be forced to forward that information to the government.

Installing a VPN is a solution that covers both of these scenarios. It’s an effective way to prevent eavesdroppers and would-be hackers from having their way. It also helps to unblock geo-blocked content or bypass government censorship. By running a VPN, you’ll be able to access the different pricings for various items online. You only need to connect through a server in another country. If you shop online a lot, the investment pays for itself.

4. File Encryption Software

File encryption software is a must if you want to protect your sensitive personal files. It can be anything from like videos and photos to secret notes or logs. Nordlocker and similar encryption solutions keep such data away from prying eyes, always asking for a password before unveiling the contents. Even if someone attained physical access to your system, that would do them no good. Only you and people you trusted with the right password could unlock your files.

File encryption software goes a couple of steps beyond what the base system-locking functionality can offer. Someone may bypass the latter, but the former… well, not so quickly. But if you store any work-related files on your computer, file encryption shouldn’t even be up for debate. Getting crucial data intercepted or stolen could cost the company a gazillion in damages. Don’t toy around with it.

5. Firewall

Another way to keep your network safe is by having a firewall. It will help you prevent unwanted connections to your local network. Which connections count as unwanted? Any incoming or outgoing traffic that doesn’t pass the predetermined security rules.

There is plenty of firewall software that you can use. Some operating systems, e.g., Windows, come with an already preinstalled firewall. You can change its security rules or add some of your own. And of course, you can always download a different firewall software if you feel like it.

Conclusion

Using security software is the only way to make sure that you’re in control of your device and everything that’s going on inside your computer network. In the end, the security of your device is up to you and the effort you put into it. Does your cybersecurity plan tick all the boxes?

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