Computer security is more important than ever. Since many people use computers to shop online and use online banking, having strong systems in place to protect your data is very important.

There are people called “hackers” who are looking for ways to steal your information, including your identity. These people use a variety of schemes and scams to get your money and leave you vulnerable to attack. A common attack is something called “phishing.” Phishing is when someone sends an email claiming to be an established, legitimate business, but is actually trying to steal your identity.

There are ways to protect yourself from scams like this and this is what this article will focus on. You will learn 10 tips to secure your computer so schemes like this don’t happen to you. Here is tip number 1:

TIP #1: Backup, backup, backup

Always make backup copies of your important files and information and keep them in a safe place. You may want to store your files on a flash drive or external hard drive, or even CDs. No matter what you store it in, be sure to back up your files so they don’t get lost.

TIP #2: Update your operating system

You want to keep your system up to date so that viruses cannot easily penetrate your system. You can go to the Windows update website to update your computer right now and stay ahead of viruses and other online threats. Simply type “windows update” into Google to access this website. You’ll also want to find updates for all of your Microsoft Office programs by typing “Microsoft Windows Office updates” into Google as well.

TIP #3: Have a firewall installed

When you install a firewall, you prevent a ton of viruses from accessing your computer. Without one, worms, Trojans, malware, and other viruses can enter your computer and cause serious damage. There are both hardware and software firewall programs, so be sure to research which one is best for you and your system.

TIP #4: Check Your Internet Browser Settings

I’m sure you’ve heard of Active-X and Javascript scripts before. But what you don’t know is that hackers can use both of these things to gain access to your computer. Cookies are harmless, but you still need to make sure you delete them every day so you don’t leave a “trace” of your internet activity. If you are using Internet Explorer as your browser, you should set your security settings for the Internet zone to “High” and you should set the settings for your Trusted sites zone to “medium low.”

TIP #5: Have a good antivirus

Having a good antivirus program will ensure that you can stop and even prevent viruses from destroying your system. You’ll always want to make sure you have the latest update to your virus software so you can stay on top of any new viruses that may have been created recently. You want to run an antivirus scan every day just to make sure that nothing new has been introduced to your system while you were browsing online.

These 5 tips will keep you safe from all the internet threats out there. Be sure to start using them today so your system stays virus-free and out of the reach of online hackers.