In the industry, computer users can be jokingly referred to as the Human User Interface, and when a user does something inadvisable it is called a ‘HUI error’. Obviously, that would never be applicable to you, but you may possibly know someone who generates HUI errors on a regular basis. Please feel free to pass this on to them.

So, if you don’t click on dubious website links and always keep a reputable security product up to date on your computer, what else do you need to know to keep your computer and data safe this coming year.

  1. Antivirus is not enough. You need browser security and antimalware as well. Depending on version, your browser may already have some online safety features, make sure they are turned on. Antivirus doesn’t protect from ransomware, only the paid versions of HitmanPro.Alert or Malwarebytes or similar do that.
  1. If you have an Apple Mac, you need security. As far back as 2012, 600,000 Macs were reported as being infected by one Trojan at one time.
  1. Always keep your computer and programs up to date. One of the reasons Operating Systems like Windows and OSX are updated is to close security holes that have been found. The same is true of your programs. NB. If you are still using Windows XP or previous versions, you cannot make them secure.
  1. Make sure your Internet browser is kept up to date. For a revue of current browsers click this link.
  1. Make sure your antivirus and other antimalware programs are kept up to date.
  1. Use DropBox or Mozy to regularly backup or unplug any backup disk between backups.
  1. Last and certainly not least, do not reuse passwords. Everyone does, nobody should. If you don’t fancy using an app to generate and keep random passwords, then think of phrases you will remember and use the first letter in each word. Best not to use the Peter Piper tongue twister though!

A full discussion of computer security is outside the remit of this article but the incidence of ransomware and other vicious malware increased last year and is expected to further increase this year. Free antivirus and antimalware can be effective, but won’t give you full protection, and the cost rapidly tots up. However, how much would it cost if you had to start all over again from scratch?

BTW iPads currently can’t get directly infected, you would have to download a malicious app or use a non-Apple sync program.