The reason I chose the title “How to Make Cyber Security Less of a Threat” is because it is almost impossible to avoid it completely. EVERY DAY new threats enter cyberspace, new malware, new viruses, and more. And even the best software programs and most diligent of security practices can be vulnerable.  The companies who make the products to protect us are often back-peddling just to keep up. Most of them are really, really good and find out about these security threats before the “average” internet user even knows they exist. But not always.

So what’s a person to do? First of all, practice safe surfing. Period.  

I have gone on sites innocently enough, clicked on links thinking they were for real, and opened emails only to find out they were loaded with something to “hack” my computer. So you absolutely must be careful when doing any of these things. If its something you never saw before, or if it sounds too good to be true, chances are very good it is no good for you.

Take those stupid little popups that end up on your computer telling you that you need to take a survey to recover your computer. A legit company would never put that there.

And what about email?

Every day I get several messages telling me to update my PayPal, Amazon and other popular sites or be at risk. Well I have learned (the hard way) never to click on the link in those type of messages. If it sounds real, I open up a new browser window and go to PayPal and see for myself. Why? Because PayPal won’t send you a message like that. They know that their “enemies” are out there trying to destroy their customers so they are out to protect us.

One way you can protect yourself: Make sure your programs are all up to date.  I have learned that cyber security is a bigger threat to old versions of software programs which is one of the main reasons companies are always updating their products.

Other ways to protect your computer include the following tools I use to keep my computer safe and running smoothly:

AVG Antivirus Protection (Trial Version available) – Detects and stops viruses, threats and malware Great, easy-to-use protection everyone needs  – Optimized for online installation 

CCCleaner – CCleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system – allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable space on your PC . I use the Business edition but used the free version for several months before upgrading. Wanted to see if there was much difference in performance and if you work 8 hours a day on your computer I recommend the business version.

Defraggler – Use Defraggler to defrag your entire hard drive, or individual files – unique in the industry. This compact and portable Windows application supports NTFS and FAT32 file systems. Most defrag tools only allow you to defrag an entire drive. Defraggler lets you specify one or more files, folders, or the whole drive to defragment. Defraggler organizes free space and you can schedule defrag time when you are not using your computer,

MalwareBytes – Take a byte out of malware with this program. Its the number one tool most recommended by techs and super users. There is a free and upgrade version available.  If you do a lot of business using your computer, I recommend the upgraded version as it is more robust and offers a few other things that the simple malware search does not. Both are excellent!

FastAgain My PC – if your computer is still running slowly after checking for viruses and other cyber threats, this is a great program. FastAgain PC Booster, easy to use wizards helps you optimize, your pc in matter of minutes, is updated frequently to ensure top notch protection against the latest threats and advanced scanning algorithms provide complete report on faulty registry keys. I use the free version of this program and it works like a charm.

Note: the main selling point for upgrading is that with most of the free versions there is absolutely no support. If I have a problem, it is nice to know I can contact someone to help me figure it out without spending a fortune and time taking my computer somewhere to be fixed.

I run these diagnostics regularly to make sure my computer is not infected. Of course, it can happen when you least expect it, so take it from someone who has had this happen more often than I care to share, it has helped. My computer repair guy told me about these tools, installed them for me and said to use them, so I do. In fact, some run in the background all the time such as AVG.

While you may not be able to ward off all the threats out there, you will feel more secure knowing your have done the things you can to protect yourself. 

If you’d like to know some of the threats you can expect in 2013 and learn about the malware threats from 2012, check out this interview I did with Adam Kujuwa of Malwarebytes .  He shared a lot of great information to help us be aware of the threats out there. After all, Knowledge is Power. Lets keep our power, keep our modems running and practice safe surfing!