To ensure that your PC works fine and is secured, you need to follow the following steps:
1) Using Anti-Virus Software: Install an anti virus software on your computer and check that the program is running smoothly. Ensure that you have the latest anti virus and scan your computer at least once in a week. Some of the free anti virus programs are Avast, Avira, Microsoft Security Beta and AVG.
2) Free Downloads: Your computer can catch a virus from free download sites. If you want to download something from the Internet, it is a better idea to pay for the download, as free download sites may contain virus that would harm your PC. Some of the free reputed download sites are PCWorld.com Downloads, Download.com and Sourceforge.net
3) Update Operating System by going through windows update. This will locate if there are security lapses in your PC. Hackers may use this as an opportunity to misuse your identity, install virus on your PC etc. Update your windows by:
Start > Programs > Windows Update
4) Backup Your Computer: You may have taken all the necessary precautions for your PC, yet you cannot be 100% sure that your PC is secured. Hence, it is advisable to take a backup of files containing important data. You can take backup on either USB or use the facilities provided by file storage sites, email and FTP.
5) Change your Passwords: Having a weak password makes it easy for hackers to crack your account. Protect your password by changing it frequently; make use of combination of upper and lower cases, special characters etc, to protect your password. Another point to remember is hackers use phishing websites to steal your personal information such as credit card number and your identity.
6) How to detect Phishing Emails: Never login through the links provided in the mail. Always open a new window. Enter the address manually. Genuine companies will address you by your name. If you get a mail addressing as ‘Dear Customer’, this is your first indication. Figure out the origin of the mail. If it is from @PayPal or @yourbank, the mail is genuine.
7) Physical Protection: Protect your PC with laptop lock, as laptops can be stolen in minutes. Protect your desktop with surge protector. Get yourself an equipment with joules rating to protect your PC from power surges.
8 ) Firewall. Use firewall to block unwanted and unknown connections. ZoneAlarm is one of better choices, as it is user friendly.
9) Reboot Your PC occasionally to have security updates. This will also improve your PC performance.
10) Set your wireless router properly: Having unencrypted network enables a person located in close proximity to view the signal and read the information that is being sent. Hence, read the manual accompanying the router before installing it.