The most effective way to secure your computers, mobile devices and data from hackers is using secure pc software. Hackers (also known as cybercriminals) hack into your computer or other device for a variety of reasons, including the theft, modification and deletion of information you value. Contrary to other thieves who often have legitimate uses for the stolen goods they have malicious motives. They are most concerned about the unauthorized access to sensitive information. This can happen before you realize that something isn’t right.

The three most important steps to secure your computer software include passwords, firewalls and protection against viruses. If you adhere to these best practices, your computer will be much less susceptible to being compromised by hackers, malware or ransomware (software that encrypts your information and demands payment for unlocking it).

Change the name of your administrator account. Be sure to select a strong password that contains upper- and lowercase numbers, letters and computer symbols. Avoid using a short password like 1234 as hackers can use automated tools to break passwords that are easy to guess within minutes.

Update your operating system description and other programs. Most software updates contain security fixes that help protect against hackers. Install all patches and turn on automatic updates if they are available to limit the amount of time you’re at risk to intruders.

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