How to Protect Your Computer From Viruses and Hackers

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These days you can never be too careful when it comes to computer security, and it seems

like there are more threats than ever.

Anything from phishing sites stealing your password, to ransomware that encrypts your

data unless you pay up.

But most of these risks can be minimized if you do the basic things I'm going to go over

in this video, and it's not as difficult as you think, so you can rest easy.

Now before we get started, I want to thank the sponsor of this video, Storyblocks, who

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And now, let's continue.

So first thing's first.

By far the most important thing you need to do to protect your devices, is to simply keep

them up to date.

I know, you're probably rolling your eyes at this because it's so obvious, but there

might be some things you're forgetting.

For example, when's the last time you checked to see if your routers firmware is up to date?

Another really important piece of software to update is Java.

Not to be confused with Javascript, Java is installed on practically every computer so

it's a huge target, but most people don't even know to update it.

To do this, search for Java in the start menu if you're on Windows, and this should bring

up the Java Control panel, where you can check for updates.

I'd also definitely recommend going to the security tab and unchecking the box that says

"Enable Java content for browser and web applications", because you almost see Java apps anymore,

and is notorious for it's vulnerabilities.

As for your operating system itself, obviously you need to keep those automatic updates going,

no matter how annoying they seem.

And if you're a Windows 7 hold out, or even, I shudder to think, Windows XP, you should

really just bite the bullet and update to Windows 10, or the latest version of MacOS

if you're on Mac.

Yes, you might not like the look of Windows 10, but whether you want to admit it or not,

Microsoft did beef up the security, especially in the latest "Fall Creators Update".

Specifically, they just added some great software exploit protection directly into Windows,

that before was only available separately as part of the so-called "Enhanced Mitigation

Experience Toolkit", and advanced piece of software you've probably never heard of until


On older versions of Windows, you're not going to get that.

Ok, so we get it, keep everything up to date.

Now we can get to some things that are little less obvious.

Still on the topic of Windows, one great thing you can do is set your Windows account to

not be an administrator, but rather a Standard User.

If you're running on the admin account, software you run might be run with high level privledges

by default, even though most don't require it.

If you accidentally load up a piece of malware, or a malicious website finds an exploit in

your browser, that virus might now have admin privledges as well, with free reign over your

whole computer.

You probably won't even notice the difference when running as a standard user, and if a

program ever does need to escalate privledges, you'll know about it, because Windows will

simply prompt you for the admin password, and continue as normal.

Another important feature built into Windows is User Account Control or UAC, which has

been around since Vista.

That's the thing that pops up a confirmation whenever you or a program wants to install

itself, or change a Windows setting.

Even if you think it's a bit annoying, you should always keep this on the highest setting,

which it should be by default.

And don't always mindlessly click confirm whenever it shows up.

Like if you're just browsing the web, and all of a sudden you get a UAC prompt for not

apparent reason, you should check to see what that caused it, because there's always a chance

some virus in the background just tried to execute, especially if you've visited a sketchy


Now let's move onto things that aren't just for Windows, such as your router.

In the interest of time, I'm just going to ASSUME you have the typical things like a

password on your WiFi connection, and the router firewall enabled like it should be

out of the box.

But one setting that is usually enabled by default that you should disable, is WPS, or

Wi-Fi Protected Setup.

This is meant to make it easy to connect devices to your router by pressing a button on it,

but it's been shown to have really flimsy security, and undermines your WiFi encryption.

If your router has this, it would probably be in the WiFi settings for your router.

And if don't know how to access your router's settings page, you can usually go into a web

browser and type in either the address, or

The default password will depend on the manufacturer, but you can usually try 'admin' for the username,

and either for the password, either try 'admin' or 'password'.

Oh, and yes you should probably change those too, or else anyone who connects to your WiFi

could change all your settings.

Another router setting you should consider disabling, but not necessarily, is Universal

Plug and Play, or UPNP.

It makes it easier for devices and software to connect to the internet, but is also a

big security vulnerability.

However, you might need it if for example, you have several Xboxs that need to connect

to the internet simultaneously, or multiple people want to use Apple facetime simultaneously,

or other protocols.

Basically, I would look in the settings and try disabling it, but if things stop working,

just re-enable it.

Alright next up, here's another really practical tip you can use, which is to use a third party

DNS service, such as OpenDNS, instead of the default one provided by your internet provider

that you're likely using now.

If you don't know what DNS is, put simply, it converts any domain names you want to access

into an IP address your computer can use.

So when you type in Google.com into your browser, your computer will ask your internet provider's

DNS server what the IP address is for Google.com.

Then it gives you the IP, and your computer connects to that, but it all happens behind

the scenes.

The advantage of using a third party DNS service, is it could be faster, so web pages will respond

faster, and in the case of OpenDNS, it has a big list of malicious websites that it will

automatically redirect your connection away from, if you happen to stumble upon one.

Google also has their own set of public DNS servers you can use, but it does not do any


To change your DNS, you can do it either on a specific computer, or on your router, which

would apply to all computers on your network.

And it's not as hard as you think, just go back to your router settings page, and somewhere

in the connection settings you should see where it has an option for DNS, or Static


It's a really standard feature and every router should have it.

But if you see something that says Dynamic DNS or 'DDNS', that's something different,

don't change that.

Anyway, then you just have to put in the 2 server addresses, which in the case of OpenDNS

are, and

In the settings these might be called Primary and Secondary DNS respectively.

Ok, so that's DNS.

This next tip is pretty quick and basic, and hopefully should be obvious, which is to have

an antivirus software installed.

And ideally, you want one that has 'real time protection', or something named similar to


This is essential, because it will help prevent you from getting infected by viruses in the

first place.

When you're browsing the web, you might go on a website that is able to exploit your

browser, or even a browser extension, and do a so-called drive by attack.

In these cases, without protection, a virus could infect your computer even without you

doing anything.

Also, it might be on a trustworthy website that was simply compromised itself, so you

never know.

A good antivirus program, along with the other tips about keeping things up to date, and

running as a standard user on Windows, all will make sure you're safe.

Alright this next one is something you should be doing no matter what, and NOT just for


Which is backing up your data.

Again, you might be rolling your eyes, but I KNOW that there are a bunch of you that

still haven't done it.

These days it's easier than ever, with cloud backup services that automatically back everything

up online, or you can get an external hard drive and use Windows' built in backup feature,

which is dead simple.

Ideally you'd actually do both local and online backup, like in the case of Ransomware, a

virus might hijack and encrypt your whole computer, and the backup as well.

Or if a thief breaks in, or you have a fire or flood, your local backup might be destroyed.

But of course a local backup would probably be faster to restore from.

Speaking of thieves and hard drives, one thing you should consider is encrypting your hard


And this is especially so on a laptop, which you're more likely to lose or forget somewhere,

and is easier to steal.

The simplest option is Windows Bitlocker.

Normally this used to only be for Windows Pro versions, and still technically is, but

apparently many laptops and tablets that ship with Windows 10 or Windows 8, have what is

called "Windows Device Encryption" enabled by default, or as an option.

To see if it's enabled, first go to Settings, then System, and in the About tab, it should

mention device encryption and whether it's enabled.

If you don't see that anywhere, you can try searching for Bitlocker in the start menu,

and accessing the settings there.

But again, you might need Windows Pro to use it.

Finally, I've got a couple really quick tips to finish up.

I've said this one plenty of times, but never connect to Open Wi-Fi hotspots.

If they aren't passworded, they aren't encrypted, which means anyone nearby can intercept your

wireless signal and see almost everything you're doing.

Also, be aware of online account security, by using different passwords on every website.

This is really important, because if a website's database gets breached, and you use the same

password for everything, you better believe that hacker is going to have bots running

to test out any username and password combinations in the database on all sorts of websites,

not just the one that got hacked.

Also for accounts, you should enable two-factor authentication when you can, where the website

will send you a text with a second code to type in when logging in, so even if someone

steals your password, they can't get in.

So, I think that covers the most important things you should be doing to protect your


If you have any more suggestions I might have missed, definitely let us know down in the


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