If you protect your computer and yourself, you can use the Internet safely. Here are some tips for protecting your computer against damage caused by hackers including:
1. Use a Firewall
A firewall is software or hardware that acts like a security guard. It's a barrier between the Internet and your computer or your network. A firewall:
- keeps out unwanted programs and intruders, and
- hides your computer from view.
Everything coming into or going out of your computer has to pass through the firewall. It helps keep hackers away from your personal and confidential information.
Even if you have anti-virus and anti-spyware software installed, you need a firewall. A firewall is the perfect complement to anti-virus and anti-spyware software, providing a key component of a multilayered security strategy.
Firewall protection is available from McAfee, it's built into Windows (you just need to enable it), and there are several free firewalls available. For affordable, worry-free protection we recommend Ziply Privacy Suite.
2. Guard Against Dangers
At the very least, when a hacker accesses your computer and its data, it's an invasion of your privacy. At its worst, hacking can lead to identity theft—the #1 growing crime in America. It doesn't take much to become a victim.
Do you know how to prevent it, or how to deal with it once it happens? Most people don't. The average identity theft victim spends about $800 and 175 hours recovering their identity. That's according to the Identity Theft Resource Center.
Sometimes spam messages contain offensive or misleading material. They can even spread viruses. Spammers may also use your computer to send spam to others. According to the FTC, as much as 30% of all spam is sent from computers like yours, but controlled by someone else.
To learn more and start protecting your computer, see Get Rid of Problems.
Note: Sometimes we get email from people claiming that they are being "attacked" by our servers. These "attacks" seem to be on ports 110, 53, 25, and 80. These are not attacks. Your firewall is logging requests on these ports. For help understanding your firewall's logs, please contact your firewall company's support team.