Threats Facing Windows Computers and How You Can Protect Yourself Against Them

 

Introduction

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more versatile, complete operating system than Windows. To this day, Windows remains the most-used operating system, and that is in no small part due to its versatility.

However, Windows has had a few security issues over the past few years that have some users worried. Today, let’s go over a few threats affecting Windows PCs and how you can protect your device.

Dangers Affecting Windows

 

DDoS Attacks

Distributed Denial of Service attacks sees cybercriminals overloading an individual’s network or a company’s servers in order to cause disruption, network issues, and disconnects.

While not as harmful as other cyber-attacks, DDoS attacks can cause a lot of damage, as companies like Microsoft and Sony know only too well.

Phishing Scams

Hundreds of thousands of scam emails are sent every day. Known as phishing emails, these emails often try to manipulate potential victims into giving out personal information (bank information, social security numbers, etc.). 

You’ll probably see thousands of phishing scams in your life, but all it takes is falling for one well-timed phishing scam to cause chaos. 

Ransomware Infections

Ransomware takes a direct approach and encrypts the drive(s) of the affected PC. After encrypting, users will see a message on the next restart that their data is locked away, and the only way to get it back is to pay a hefty fee, usually cryptocurrency.

Ransomware has only grown more popular amongst cybercriminals as the years have gone by. Having caused billions of dollars in damages, ransomware is the biggest fear of many individuals and businesses.

How to Protect Your PC

 

1. Enable BitLocker

The first thing you should do is begin encrypting your PC’s data. Fortunately, some versions of Windows come with an encryption solution free of charge: BitLocker

With BitLocker, Windows users can encrypt full hard drives. This is useful in making sure that people cannot access your data with your master password.

2. Use a VPN

Data Packages

An alarming amount of malware, virus, and worm infections happen through public networks. This isn’t surprising due to the fact that most public networks lack proper encryption, but it is worrying for those who use public networks often.

If you use public networks and want to stay safe, install a PC VPN on your computer. A VPN will encrypt the data your computer sends out and anonymizes your presence on the network. In other words, a VPN will make a public network a safe area for you to work in.

3. Create a Restore Point 

Malware can be difficult to get rid of. Not only do you need to locate the source of the problem, but you also need to make sure it hasn’t spread anywhere else. Instead of going on a wild chase, however, you can instantly restore a previous, uninfected version of Windows via a restore point.

Creating a restore point is easy, takes only a few minutes, and will prevent you from having to do a full Windows restore if your device ever catches a case of malware.

4. Install an Anti-Malware/Antivirus Program

Virus, or Malware

What’s scary about malware is that rarely will you be able to tell from a glance that your Windows PC is infected. Many forms of malware work covertly, avoiding detection by any means possible.

For this reason, it’s advised that you install an anti-malware or antivirus program. Windows comes with Windows Defender at no additional cost, but you should download an anti-malware program to go along with it.

What anti-malware and antivirus programs do is scan through your computer’s files, registries, and memory, looking for malware, viruses, worms, and other threats. If any are detected, the accused file/folder/program is separated from other files and deleted.

 

5. Frequently Update Windows and Other Software

There is no such thing as perfect software, nor is there a development team that could possibly catch every minor flaw in their software. As a result, all software, from major operating systems like Windows to small programs, suffer from bugs and vulnerabilities.

Now, developers do push out fixes for their software often, as these bugs and vulnerabilities can end up putting users at risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime. It’s important that you install these updates as soon as possible. You never know what vulnerabilities might be fixed. Just recently, Microsoft pushed out a security update that fixes over 100 security vulnerabilities!

Conclusion

Windows might be the most popular operating system out there today—and for a good reason—but it’s not invulnerable to issues that plague other operating systems. Fortunately, with a few updates and some new software, you can easily protect your Windows PC.

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