Secure PC software is crucial to safeguarding your mobile device, computer and your data from hackers. Hackers (also known as cybercriminals) attack your device or computer for a variety of reasons, such continue reading this as the theft, modification and deletion of data you consider valuable. Hackers are malicious unlike other thieves who make use of stolen items to fulfill legitimate needs. They are most interested in getting access to your personal data, often before you know something has gone wrong.

The three most important steps to ensure the security of your computer software are passwords, a firewall and virus protection. If you follow these best practices your computer will be much less likely to be compromised by malware, hackers or ransomware (software which encrypts your data and requires payment to unlock it).

Change the name of the administrator account. Be sure to select an extremely secure password that includes lower and uppercase numbers, letters and computer symbols. Avoid using a password that is short like 1234, as hackers are able to employ automated tools to crack passwords that are easy to guess in just a few minutes.

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

If you own an laptop or any other portable device, make sure the drive is encrypted even when it’s not in use. This is especially important for UF Students. You can enable encryption in Windows by opening Settings > Update and Security > Device encryption. This will encrypt your entire internal drive and a majority of external drives, such as SD cards.