What’s the best way to protect your computer? The answer is layered security.

At home, you protect your family and your possessions with locks, deadbolts and even bars on the doors and windows. Maybe you have a tall fence or live in a gated community. Many homeowners also have alarm systems installed to prevent break-ins.

This is the kind of overlapping security you should also have in place on your computer to protect all of the valuable information you have stored, like your social security number, bank account information and work related files. Here are five layers of security you can use to protect your computer and your identity.

1. Make sure your desktop is password protected.

When you turn on your computer does it prompt you for a password to login? If it doesn’t and your computer is stolen, the thief has an all access pass to everything on it. Prevent others from logging in by creating a decently long password with letters, number and symbols.

2. Install antivirus software and keep it updated.

When was the last time you updated your antivirus software? Even if it was Yesterday, your machine may be vulnerable to a myriad of threats as malware is constantly evolving to avoid detection. Make sure your software is always up to date with the current definitions of malware.

3. Do not click on pop-ups for antivirus software.

While they may be offering to help you protect your computer, these pop-up ads are usually a ruse aimed at your financial information. Don’t ever enter any of your personal information on pop-ups or unsolicited websites.

4. Install a web reputation browser plug-in.

Scammers and hackers are getting more and more clever, making it difficult sometimes to know if a website is malicious or not. There are browser plug-ins out there that will alert you if you click on a link to a questionable website.

5. Use a spam filter on your email.

Emails containing viruses and damaging software are sent to you and millions of others everyday. You may recognize them as spam, but they can also masquerade as people you know— even your family members. Keep these emails out of your inbox by setting up a spam filter on your email account. Also, apply your common sense and never open any emails that even hint at being spammy.

If you think your computer is infected with a virus, call Rapid I.T. ASAP and we’ll have a look at it.