I’m one of those people whose computers rarely get viruses. I’ve have not had my accounts hacked either. I always thought it was because I was more tech savvy than the average user, but what it comes down to is that I follow five basic protocols that a lot of computer users don’t.
1. I don’t use the same password from site to site and I change my passwords often whether I need to or not. Yes, it’s a pain in the ass. Yes, I do it anyway. I’m paranoid. I keep a small black notebook with all of my passwords in it because I have so many passwords there’s no way to keep track.
2. I don’t click on links from strangers. I also don’t click on emailed links from friends because I know that my friends, if they’re smart, don’t send me links without extensive commentary. I will delete anything that I’m suspicious of, even if it is legit. I am also in the habit of reading email addresses to make sure it is actually from my friends.
3. I run regular virus scans. Call me OCD, but my virus scanners scan at least once a week along with my malware scanners. This generally solves a problem before it becomes a problem. I seriously had one laptop that lasted me 10 years before we replaced it and we replaced it because the keys were falling off. I really do use computers until the hardware literally falls apart.
4. My passwords are long, difficult, made up of bizarre ass words and full of both lower case, upper case, and number codes. If I can get away with adding symbols in, I do that, too. There’s no reason a password can’t be fun and functional! (And no – I do not use my pets’ names! Don’t do that!)
5. I am careful about the sites I surf to. There are about 5 websites I regularly visit (not including my own) and they’re pretty safe. That isn’t to say I don’t surf the web, I do, I just click selectively.
What safe habits do you employ when you use your computer?