How to protect yourself from computer viruses online

How to protect yourself from computer viruses online

By: Shell Energy

22 Apr 2021

Cybercrime is becoming increasingly common in the UK.

In 2019, no less than 16.5 million UK consumers fell victim to cybercrimes, such as identity theft, malware infections, or unauthorised access to mail or social media accounts. The knock-on effect of dealing with the aftermath of cybercrime led to losses of an estimated £1.4 billion, according to research by NortonLifeLock, global specialists in consumer cyber safety.

There’s no doubt that technology is a big part of our lives, and staying connected is more important than ever. So how can you make sure you’re connected, but safe?

In our guide, we discuss how to prevent computer viruses and the ways you can help protect yourself online.

Take control of your online presence

The NortonLifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report found that 79% of Brits believe they've lost control of how their personal information is collected and used by companies, with 64% feeling that it's impossible to protect their online privacy because their information is already out there.

To help you own your online presence and take control of your data, Steve Wilson, Director of EMEA North at NortonLifelock, suggests limiting the amount of personal information you share on social networks as "meaningful dates and places or pet names could give identity thieves the details they need to impersonate you and commit fraud."

Review your permissions

Many of us are guilty of accepting online terms and conditions without reading them, but it's good practice to regularly review the privacy and security settings for your web services, apps, and social media accounts.

Doing so will ensure you're in control of the data you’re comfortable sharing (such as geographical location and spending habits) and when you want to share it (for example, only when you're using the app).

Smart approach to smart technology

Smart devices undoubtedly make our lives easier and give us more control of our energy and our homes. But as with any products connected to the internet, they could be susceptible to malicious attacks if the right safety precautions aren’t in place.

But don’t worry - there are ways to protect yourself and your devices. If you’re one of the 57% of UK households to own a smart home product, you can secure them in the following ways:

  • Avoid connecting smart speakers to your home's security technology (locks or CCTV cameras)
  • Avoid using the default settings on smart technology in favour of selecting what's best for you
  • If your smart technology is controlled by an app, download updates and limit access rights
  • Check that your Wi-Fi network and router software is encrypted and properly secured

“Be selective about what you connect together,” is the advice from Steve Wilson, Director of EMEA North at NortonLifelock, “Smart speakers and other internet connected devices come with a variety of settings and features. You should always ensure to modify the default privacy and security settings, taking time to get your set up right.”

Update your software

As we move away from traditional security measures such as PIN numbers and passwords in favour of fingerprints and facial recognition, it's vital to protect the devices containing this information. That's why you should regularly check for software updates, which often include security fixes for the latest vulnerabilities and potential security flaws.

For additional protection that could help further reduce security risks, Wilson recommends that everyone should invest in a Cyber Safety solution because "nobody is immune against becoming a victim."Antivirus software can help protect your devices against viruses and cyber threats, so you can bank, shop and browse online knowing you are protected.

Norton™ 360 Deluxe 5 Devices offers powerful protection to your devices and online privacy, and can protect up to 5 PCs, Mac®, smartphones or tablets in a single solution.

For more information on how to protect yourself from computer viruses, including malware, spyware, and Trojan horses, check out our guide to the most common types of computer viruses

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