We focus a lot on preventive maintenance in regards to computer security. Firewalls, anti-virus protection, secure passwords, and smart computer practices all help minimize the chances of being hacked. But sometimes, despite our best efforts, stuff happens. And when it does, we should have a clear plan on what to do.
Here is a list of three things you can do to minimize the headaches associated with an infected computer or compromised data.
1. See a specialist
If your computer has been infected (you’ll know because it slows down dramatically, you get incessant pop-ups, or a variety of other strange things happen) you should bring it in to a professional. Finding the infection is top priority, and a professional can find it, get rid of it, and help you restore your system to the way it was ... only with better protection for the future.
It’s best to stay off your computer until you can get it in for a checkup. If you do need to use it, try to avoid using the Internet —especially e-mail or other password protected applications.
2. Change your passwords
Go to the library, a friend’s home, or your office computer and change your passwords as soon as you can. You never know how many of your applications have been compromised, so it’s best to stay proactive and change your passwords. At the very minimum, change your e-mail passwords, since Internet thieves will use those accounts to reset passwords for other applications.
3. Monitor credit card statements
If you think your credit card number may have been leaked (like the recent Sony Playstation hack), then you need to closely monitor your statements for a while. Yes, this is a hassle. But it will save you many headaches down the road. If you have online access to your credit card statement, check it once a day to make sure there’s no funny business going on. You won’t be liable for fraudulent purchases, but you need to disclose the fraud quickly after it happens to ensure protection.
Hopefully you’ll never need the steps we covered above. Continue to take preventive steps to keep you and your computer safe, and you’ll be just fine. If you need any assistance, feel free to give The Computer Guys USA a call at (928) 468-0000 for a free consultation.
Stay safe and secure!