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Use an anti-virus program! This one should be obvious, but you NEED some sort of defence against malicious programs.  The choice is up to you, as there are quite a few good, free programs and many paid ones as well that’ll go the extra mile to help.  Do a little research into what’s in your budget and what you need, as some only work for one computer while others are more business-friendly.  You should absolutely have this software installed on all work computers.  This includes laptops that might be taken home as, just because they’re not in the workplace, doesn’t mean they’re not vulnerable.

Read everything carefully.

It’s very easy to make a mistake when you’re typing in a web address and end up at a malicious site.  A lot of anti-virus programs these days help to block those sites, but that doesn’t mean they’ll all be blocked.  Make sure you’re typing everything in properly before progressing, and this is especially true for sensitive emails.  Any time you’re sending or inputting sensitive information, make sure you’re sending it to who you’re supposed to.

Update your passwords.

While you might be able to get away with using your pet’s name on your home computer, your work computers should be a bit more obscure to be secure.  You don’t have to go crazy with something like this — %as29O30F1@9o — but you should absolutely try and pick something more or less at random.  Personally, I’d recommend using this site to create a strong password.  It has the option to generate it strictly on your device so it’s not being sent through the internet.  If you want to be extra secure, make multiple passwords for different accounts so that if one is compromised, the rest are safe.  As an added note, remember to write down that password somewhere as it’s unlikely you’ll be remembering it any time soon…

Be on the lookout for email scams.

Not every scam will be as easy to spot as a Nigerian prince.  Some, a lot in fact, now look like legitimate emails from actual real companies.  A good tip for avoiding many of these scams is, rather than clicking any links inside emails, go to the actual website and do what you need from there.  If it’s a scam, you’ll realise it pretty quickly.  This is even more true for any attachments.  Only download attachments if they’re from someone you KNOW.  Chances are that any other attachment is coming with a little something extra to help destroy your computer.

Protect other devices too!

Your computer isn’t the only thing you need to be careful with.  Phones, tablets, and other devices can all be hacked just the same and need protection as well.  Most start with built-in virus protection, but all the above rules apply for them as well.  This is made even more important if you’re using them for work, as sensitive data should always be protected to an extreme.]]>

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