Secure PC software is essential to safeguarding your device, computer and data from hackers. Hackers (also known as cybercriminals) hack into your computer or other device for various reasons, which include the theft, modification and deletion of data you consider valuable. Hackers are motivated by malicious motives, unlike other thieves who may use stolen goods for legitimate purposes. They are most interested in getting access to your sensitive data, often before you realize that something is wrong.

Passwords, a virus protection program and a firewall are the three primary steps to secure your pc software. If you follow these basic best practices your computer will be significantly less likely to be compromised by hackers, malware or ransomware (software which encrypts your data and demands payment for unlocking it).

Change the name of your administrator account. Choose a password that is strong and contains upper- and lowercase letter numerals, numbers and computer symbols. Avoid using a standard password like 1234 because hackers can employ automated software to crack passwords that are easy to guess in minutes.

Update your operating system and other software. The majority of software updates contain security fixes to help protect against hacking. Install all patches, and enable automatic updates if available, to reduce the amount of time you’re vulnerable to hackers.

If you have a laptop, or any other portable device, ensure that the drive is encrypted when it’s not being used. This is especially crucial for UF students. Windows allows users to enable encryption by going to Settings > Update & Security > Device encryption. This will secure the entire internal drive, as well as many external drives, including SD cards.