Even if you have a system that is equipped with an antivirus scanner that is up-to-date, along with both hardware and software firewalls, it’s still possible for your system to get infected. The weak link in the chain is the user, what he or she does on the system ultimately determine its destiny.

There is no real solution to human error. That is why when a security plan is adopted; it must be adopted with the assumption that at some point there will be a breach. Unfortunately, viruses have become even more malicious over the years so you should expect considerable damage in the event that you’re infected.

In this article I have presented you with 8 ways to effectively reduce the risk of someone stealing confidential information from your computer:

1. Don’t Boot From Floppy Disks

In the past, floppy disks were one of the most common methods of transmitting viruses. Today, they have become less popular; however there are still some systems that come with them as standard.

Work places that haven’t made that big leap to upgrade all their systems also still use floppies. For those computer users, it’s always best practice to remove floppies before and after you shut your system down.

2. Use Multiple Internet Security Software

No internet security software is 100% effective, so having more malware scanners on your computer, will increase the chances of your system extensively stopping a malicious file. That said, it’s best practice to use only one scanner in real-time, as this will avoid the software completely taxing system resources.

Consider setting your internet security software to scan for file downloads and email attachments and to run a full virus scan when the computer has been idle for a certain amount of time. Malwarebytes and Spyhunter are good secondary scanners, ones that I would recommend you looked into.

3. Use Disposable Credit Card Numbers

The Electronic Funds Transfer Act limits the amount of loss a consumer may be subjected to, but this protection only applies to unauthorised user of a debit card. That is the main reason why it’s best to avoid using your debit card for transactions on the internet.

By using a disposable credit card number, you can increase the level of protection that you get when buying services and products on the internets. You can find a considerable amount of information on reducing your risk of loss when using services such as PayPal with these virtual credit cards, so I’d recommend you looked into that.

4. Don’t Use Online Banking Services

Some years back, there was a ton of phishing emails that were sent out, masquerading as legitimate emails from banks. These emails are speculative at best, as I’ve received emails from banks that I don’t even have an account with.

I’ve used the same account at the same bank for several decades now and I’ve never really felt the need to use any of the online banking features. Banking on the internet is definitely convenient.

Paying your bills via the internet may save you both time and costs. But when you couple these advantages with the risks, you may conclude that you’re better off not dabbling in it.

5. Don’t Download Programs From The Internet

There are tons of download sources that you may not be too familiar with that may be hosting malicious files that are all too eager to get onto your system. Avoid downloading stuff from questionable sources; you should also minimise the kinds of stuff that you do download.

When downloading games, freeware, screensavers and just about anything with an .exe extension, you should check the website to ensure that it has its own antivirus software running on it.

If you feel that you must download something from the internet, then make sure you scan it, before you open it. Create a download folder, and save all downloads into it, then you can set your antivirus scanner to constantly scan that folder for viruses.

6. Don’t Open Attachments Automatically

​Make sure your email client software doesn’t automatically download and open attachments in your emails. This way, you will be able to check or scan your attachments before you copy them to your computer. Just make sure which ever antivirus software you use, supports this feature.

7. Use Common Sense

It’s always best to be cautious about anything and everything you do on the internet. For example, it’s best to delete an attachment that you’re unfamiliar with, especially if the attachment came from an unsolicited email.

If you receive an email making promises, compelling you to download the supplied attachment, then you should definitely apply caution, or maybe consider just deleting the email.

8. Scan Email Attachments

​Make sure that every attachment that you copy to your computer is run through an antivirus scanner. You should do this for all attachments that means, even from senders that you trust.

Trojan horses are the types of viruses that you are likely to find in these emails, so be sure to thoroughly check these attachments.


Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website