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When we look at the area of security, both privacy and money are without a doubt, the most integral components of it. Everyone wants to be sure that their identities, their privacy and their money is well protected. For the vast majority of us, we can’t do without our money, so we’d much rather it remained in our company.

It’s for this reason I put this article together, covering the most common mistakes, whether security related or other, that the average PC user makes. You should be aware of all the tips highlighted in this article. Especially if you want to ensure the overall security and longevity of your system and the data that resides in it.


  1. Update Internet Security Software

You’re probably already aware of this, because it’s so common. If you have any security software installed on your system, then you’ll want to ensure it’s up-to-date. So many people are aware of this fact, yet, so many neglect to take action. If your system currently doesn’t have any internet security tools installed and running on it, then I recommend you go out and get something immediately. There are a number of quality free solutions that you can at least start with, such as AVG Free.

However, it doesn’t end with just installing the security software, you must also ensure its constantly being updated. The software developers should be constantly releasing new virus definitions for it. For the vast majority of these security tools, they should update by themselves, providing the option has been enabled. If you ensure your security software is always kept up-to-date, then you can ensure no viruses will get on your system.

  1. Back Up Your PC

When a hard drive eventually fails, it can be devastating for the PC owner. Years of files gone, in an instant, unless you’ve taken the time to back things up.

There are many different ways you can back up your data. You can use the cloud, you can use a flash drive, providing it’s large enough, or you can use an external hard drive. Just be sure to put your most important files on it, on a regular basis. If you go the cloud route, you’ll find that the backup process can be automated, so that may be the more appealing option.

When it comes to flash drives and external hard drives, you will need to remember to plug those devices into your computer at the right time, every week or so. This will allow the backup process to run through. Which you will be able to access, in the event your system is infected with a virus.

Of course, both your flash drives and external hard drives are capable of failing, just like the hard drive installed in your system. Cloud storage services tend to be quicker, and are capable of backing up every device that it is setup on, which may be your laptop, tablet, phone and desktop unit.

  1. Protect Your Electricals

For best practice purposes, it’s in your best interest that you plug your laptop, or PC into the wall socket through a surge protector. As this will provide protection for your system from voltage fluctuations, which could ultimately damage your hardware components. These fluctuations happen during bad weather, so bear that in mind.

  1. Use Complex Passwords

You want to ensure that the passwords you use are complex, that way you can minimise the chances of them being compromised. That said, using complex passwords does come with its problems. The main one, being remembering them. If you use a plethora of complex passwords, you will have difficulties remember all of them. For those of you in that situation, I’d recommend that you invested in a password manager. Which is basically a tool that will centralise all your password efforts.

  1. Be Wary of Short links

As social media platforms have become more popular, so has the use of these shortened URL services. The main advantage of using these shortened URLS is that they allow the user to conceal the destination of the link. However, this may not always be a good thing, as criminals can also use it, for the same purpose.

  1. Avoid Click-Bait Material

When you’re new to computers, it’s not uncommon for you to explore by clicking on any link that grabs your interest. Whether it’s an attachment within an unsolicited email or a video file. The more things you click on, the more chance there is of something going wrong. You want to minimise the chances of contracting a virus, which can only be done by being cautious.

  1. Downloading From Insecure Sources

Many people tend to make the mistake of downloading programs, files from literally any source. They just click on the first link that’s available to them. It’s best practice for you to download, exclusively from official sources. So if it’s a program, then you should download the program from the developer website. Computer hackers are always on the look out to take advantage of those who are not in the know. So stay safe by only downloading from assured places.


Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website

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