The best way to safeguard your devices, computer systems and data from hackers is using secure PC software. Hackers, also referred to as cybercriminals, snoop around your computer for a variety reasons. They can steal, alter, or delete data that you value. Hackers are malicious unlike other thieves who make use of stolen items to fulfill legitimate needs. They are most concerned with unauthorized access to your personal information, and often before you even realize something has gone wrong.
The three main steps to ensure the security of your computer software are passwords, a firewall and protection against viruses. If you adhere to these best practices your computer will be less susceptible to being compromised by malware, hackers or ransomware (software that encrypts your information and demands payment for unlocking it).
Change the name of your administrator account. Choose a strong password containing upper- and lowercase letter numbers, computer symbols and numbers. Avoid using a simple password like 1234 as hackers could employ automated software to hack passwords that are easy to guess in minutes.
Make sure that your operating system (OS) and other software up-to-date. The majority of software updates contain security fixes that protect against hacking. Install all patches and enable automatic updates if you have them, to decrease your vulnerability to hackers.
If you have a laptop or other portable device, make sure the drive is secured even when it’s not in use. This is especially crucial for UF students. Windows allows you to enable encryption by clicking Settings > Update & Security > Device encryption. This will make it impossible to access the internal drive as well as most external drives, such as SD cards.