How to Protect Your Computer From Viruses and Hackers


These days you can never be too careful when
it comes to computer security, and it seems like there are more threats than ever. Anything from phishing sites stealing your
password, to ransomware that encrypts your data unless you pay up. But most of these risks can be minimized if
you do the basic things I’m going to go over in this video, and it’s not as difficult as
you think, so you can rest easy. Now before we get started, I want to thank
the sponsor of this video, Storyblocks, who also provided the stock images you just saw,
and that I’ll also be using in more of this video to help illustrate some points. With Storyblocks, you’ll be able to find all
kinds of stock images imagineable, including high quality photos, illustrations, vectors,
icons and more. You can download anything from the 400,000
images in their member library, plus you’ll save 60% on any content from their Marketplace. And actually one example is the wallpaper
on my desktop right back here now, it’s just a cool abstract background I found on there,
so there are lots of different uses for these images. And you guys are getting a deal, because Storyblocks
is giving away 7 days of free access to their library, and yes, you can keep using the images
you download forever, because you get a royalty free license with them. So be sure to check that out at Storyblocks.com/YouTube,
or click the link in the description, and start downloading today. And now, let’s continue. So first thing’s first. By far the most important thing you need to
do to protect your devices, is to simply keep them up to date. I know, you’re probably rolling your eyes
at this because it’s so obvious, but there might be some things you’re forgetting. For example, when’s the last time you checked
to see if your routers firmware is up to date? Another really important piece of software
to update is Java. Not to be confused with Javascript, Java is
installed on practically every computer so it’s a huge target, but most people don’t
even know to update it. To do this, search for Java in the start menu
if you’re on Windows, and this should bring up the Java Control panel, where you can check
for updates. I’d also definitely recommend going to the
security tab and unchecking the box that says “Enable Java content for browser and web applications”,
because you almost see Java apps anymore, and is notorious for it’s vulnerabilities. As for your operating system itself, obviously
you need to keep those automatic updates going, no matter how annoying they seem. And if you’re a Windows 7 hold out, or even,
I shudder to think, Windows XP, you should really just bite the bullet and update to
Windows 10, or the latest version of MacOS if you’re on Mac. Yes, you might not like the look of Windows
10, but whether you want to admit it or not, Microsoft did beef up the security, especially
in the latest “Fall Creators Update”. Specifically, they just added some great software
exploit protection directly into Windows, that before was only available separately
as part of the so-called “Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit”, and advanced piece of
software you’ve probably never heard of until now. On older versions of Windows, you’re not going
to get that. Ok, so we get it, keep everything up to date. Now we can get to some things that are little
less obvious. Still on the topic of Windows, one great thing
you can do is set your Windows account to not be an administrator, but rather a Standard
User. If you’re running on the admin account, software
you run might be run with high level privledges by default, even though most don’t require
it. If you accidentally load up a piece of malware,
or a malicious website finds an exploit in your browser, that virus might now have admin
privledges as well, with free reign over your whole computer. You probably won’t even notice the difference
when running as a standard user, and if a program ever does need to escalate privledges,
you’ll know about it, because Windows will simply prompt you for the admin password,
and continue as normal. Another important feature built into Windows
is User Account Control or UAC, which has been around since Vista. That’s the thing that pops up a confirmation
whenever you or a program wants to install itself, or change a Windows setting. Even if you think it’s a bit annoying, you
should always keep this on the highest setting, which it should be by default. And don’t always mindlessly click confirm
whenever it shows up. Like if you’re just browsing the web, and
all of a sudden you get a UAC prompt for not apparent reason, you should check to see what
that caused it, because there’s always a chance some virus in the background just tried to
execute, especially if you’ve visited a sketchy website. Now let’s move onto things that aren’t just
for Windows, such as your router. In the interest of time, I’m just going to
ASSUME you have the typical things like a password on your WiFi connection, and the
router firewall enabled like it should be out of the box. But one setting that is usually enabled by
default that you should disable, is WPS, or Wi-Fi Protected Setup. This is meant to make it easy to connect devices
to your router by pressing a button on it, but it’s been shown to have really flimsy
security, and undermines your WiFi encryption. If your router has this, it would probably
be in the WiFi settings for your router. And if don’t know how to access your router’s
settings page, you can usually go into a web browser and type in either the address 192.168.1.1,
or 192.168.0.1. The default password will depend on the manufacturer,
but you can usually try ‘admin’ for the username, and either for the password, either try ‘admin’
or ‘password’. Oh, and yes you should probably change those
too, or else anyone who connects to your WiFi could change all your settings. Another router setting you should consider
disabling, but not necessarily, is Universal Plug and Play, or UPNP. It makes it easier for devices and software
to connect to the internet, but is also a big security vulnerability. However, you might need it if for example,
you have several Xboxs that need to connect to the internet simultaneously, or multiple
people want to use Apple facetime simultaneously, or other protocols. Basically, I would look in the settings and
try disabling it, but if things stop working, just re-enable it. Alright next up, here’s another really practical
tip you can use, which is to use a third party DNS service, such as OpenDNS, instead of the
default one provided by your internet provider that you’re likely using now. If you don’t know what DNS is, put simply,
it converts any domain names you want to access into an IP address your computer can use. So when you type in Google.com into your browser,
your computer will ask your internet provider’s DNS server what the IP address is for Google.com. Then it gives you the IP, and your computer
connects to that, but it all happens behind the scenes. The advantage of using a third party DNS service,
is it could be faster, so web pages will respond faster, and in the case of OpenDNS, it has
a big list of malicious websites that it will automatically redirect your connection away
from, if you happen to stumble upon one. Google also has their own set of public DNS
servers you can use, but it does not do any filtering. To change your DNS, you can do it either on
a specific computer, or on your router, which would apply to all computers on your network. And it’s not as hard as you think, just go
back to your router settings page, and somewhere in the connection settings you should see
where it has an option for DNS, or Static DNS. It’s a really standard feature and every router
should have it. But if you see something that says Dynamic
DNS or ‘DDNS’, that’s something different, don’t change that. Anyway, then you just have to put in the 2
server addresses, which in the case of OpenDNS are 208.67.222.222, and 208.67.220.220. In the settings these might be called Primary
and Secondary DNS respectively. Ok, so that’s DNS. This next tip is pretty quick and basic, and
hopefully should be obvious, which is to have an antivirus software installed. And ideally, you want one that has ‘real time
protection’, or something named similar to that. This is essential, because it will help prevent
you from getting infected by viruses in the first place. When you’re browsing the web, you might go
on a website that is able to exploit your browser, or even a browser extension, and
do a so-called drive by attack. In these cases, without protection, a virus
could infect your computer even without you doing anything. Also, it might be on a trustworthy website
that was simply compromised itself, so you never know. A good antivirus program, along with the other
tips about keeping things up to date, and running as a standard user on Windows, all
will make sure you’re safe. Alright this next one is something you should
be doing no matter what, and NOT just for security. Which is backing up your data. Again, you might be rolling your eyes, but
I KNOW that there are a bunch of you that still haven’t done it. These days it’s easier than ever, with cloud
backup services that automatically back everything up online, or you can get an external hard
drive and use Windows’ built in backup feature, which is dead simple. Ideally you’d actually do both local and online
backup, like in the case of Ransomware, a virus might hijack and encrypt your whole
computer, and the backup as well. Or if a thief breaks in, or you have a fire
or flood, your local backup might be destroyed. But of course a local backup would probably
be faster to restore from. Speaking of thieves and hard drives, one thing
you should consider is encrypting your hard drive. And this is especially so on a laptop, which
you’re more likely to lose or forget somewhere, and is easier to steal. The simplest option is Windows Bitlocker. Normally this used to only be for Windows
Pro versions, and still technically is, but apparently many laptops and tablets that ship
with Windows 10 or Windows 8, have what is called “Windows Device Encryption” enabled
by default, or as an option. To see if it’s enabled, first go to Settings,
then System, and in the About tab, it should mention device encryption and whether it’s
enabled. If you don’t see that anywhere, you can try
searching for Bitlocker in the start menu, and accessing the settings there. But again, you might need Windows Pro to use
it. Finally, I’ve got a couple really quick tips
to finish up. I’ve said this one plenty of times, but never
connect to Open Wi-Fi hotspots. If they aren’t passworded, they aren’t encrypted,
which means anyone nearby can intercept your wireless signal and see almost everything
you’re doing. Also, be aware of online account security,
by using different passwords on every website. This is really important, because if a website’s
database gets breached, and you use the same password for everything, you better believe
that hacker is going to have bots running to test out any username and password combinations
in the database on all sorts of websites, not just the one that got hacked. Also for accounts, you should enable two-factor
authentication when you can, where the website will send you a text with a second code to
type in when logging in, so even if someone steals your password, they can’t get in. So, I think that covers the most important
things you should be doing to protect your computer. If you have any more suggestions I might have
missed, definitely let us know down in the comments. If you want to keep watching, here are some
other videos you can click on, and if you want to subscribe, I make new videos every
tuesday thursday saturday. Also consider enabling notifications too by
clicking the bell, or else YouTube probably won’t show you my new videos anyway. But, again I’m looking forward to hearing
from you, so thanks for watching I’ll see you next time, have a good one.

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