The best way to safeguard your computers, mobile devices and data from hackers is secure pc software. Hackers, also referred to as cybercriminals, gain access to your computer for many reasons. They can steal or alter, or even delete information you consider important. As opposed to other thieves, who often have legitimate uses for the stolen goods they have malicious motives. They are more concerned with having access to sensitive data that is not authorized. This could happen before you even know there is something wrong.

Passwords, a security program and a firewall are the three main steps to secure your PC software. If you follow these basic best practices, your computer will be much less susceptible to being compromised by malware, hackers, or ransomware (software that locks your data and demands payment for unlocking it).

Change the name of the administrator account. Choose a password that is strong and contains lower- and uppercase letters as well as numbers and computer symbol. Avoid using a password with a shorter length like 1234, as hackers are able to use automated tools to break passwords that are easy to guess within minutes.

Update your operating system and other programs. The majority of software updates contain security fixes that help protect against hacking. Install all patches and set up automatic updates if available, to minimize the time you are vulnerable to hackers.

If you own a laptop or any other portable device that isn’t being used, ensure that the drive is protected. This is especially important for UF students. Windows allows you to enable encryption by going to Settings > Update and Security > Device encryption. This will make your internal drive, as well as the majority of external drives, including SD cards.