Keep your device clean
Is your device running a bit slower than usual? Maybe random screens are popping up? Does your bank account have unknown charges on it?
These are some signs that your device might be infected with malware – malicious software designed to harm your device or network.
Here are simple ways to help protect yourself:
Keep your browser and operating system up to date
Most operating systems and software will notify you when it’s time to upgrade – don’t ignore these messages and update as soon as you can. Old versions of software can sometimes have security problems that criminals can use to more easily get to your data. Google’s Chrome browser automatically updates to the latest version every time you start it up, so you can get the most up-to-date security protection without any extra work.
Always keep an eye on what you click and download, including music, movies, files, browser plug-ins or add-ons
Be wary of pop-up windows that ask you to download software or that offer to fix your computer. Often these pop-ups will claim that your computer has been infected and that their download can fix it – don’t believe them. Close the window and make sure you don’t click inside the pop-up window. Do not open files of unknown types, or if you see unfamiliar browser prompts or warnings asking you to open a file. Sometimes malware may prevent you from leaving a page if you land on it, for example by repeatedly opening a download prompt. If this happens, use your computer’s task manager or activity monitor to close your browser.
When in doubt, use trusted bookmarks for important sites, use your search engine to navigate to the site or type the site address directly into your browser. You should also check to see if the web address begins with https:// – which signals that your connection to the website is encrypted and more resistant to snooping or tampering.
When you do install software, make sure you’re getting the software from a trusted source
Some programs bundle malware as part of their installation process. Before you start a download, there are a few simple steps you can take to help reduce your risk of downloading malware along with the software you want.
Check the reputation of the store – is it an authoritative source, like your phone or browser’s built-in app store, or the developer’s website, as opposed to an unfamiliar third-party download site? You can also check the reputation of the developer by looking at what others have said about them in the past. Check for online review or comments about that particular download. If you see that many people didn’t like it or had a bad experience, you might not want to download it yourself.
If you notice something suspicious after your download – such as significant computer slowness, unexpected pop-ups or messages, or unfamiliar billing charges – uninstall the software immediately and make sure your anti-virus is running and up-to-date.
If your computer is infected with malware, remove it as soon as you can
One way to clean your computer is to scan it with at least one, and ideally a few, high-quality antivirus products. We can’t vouch for their programs’ effectiveness, but trying the latest versions of any of them often makes a difference. You may also use the site av-comparatives.org to find other anti-virus software and review test results.
- ESET Smart Security
- G DATA
- Kaspersky Lab Internet Security
- MacScan (for Mac users)
- Microsoft Security Essentials
- Norton Internet Security
Discover the Top 5 Google online safety features designed to help you keep your family safe online.
Make your Google Account even more secure
You can add an extra layer of security to your Google Account by enabling 2-step verification. If you have 2-step verification turned on, Google will send a passcode to your mobile phone when someone tries to sign into your account from an unfamiliar computer. This means that if someone steals or guesses your password, the potential attacker still can’t sign in to your account because they don’t have your phone. Now you can protect yourself with something you know (your password) and something you have (your phone).
Browse the web without saving certain information
When you want to browse the Web in private, enable Incognito Mode in the Chrome browser on your computer, tablet, or phone. In Incognito Mode, the pages you visit and files you download aren’t recorded in Chrome’s browsing or download history.
Your Google Account, your way
On your Account settings page, you can see services and information associated with your Google Account and change your security and privacy settings.
Be alerted if your name appears on the web
Me on the Web can help you understand and manage what people see when they search for you on Google. It helps you set up Google Alerts so you can monitor if information about you appears online, and it automatically suggests some search terms you may want to keep an eye on.
Manage the data stored in your Google Account
Google Dashboard shows you what's stored in your Google Account and provides an overview of some of your recent account activity. From one central location, you can easily view your data and activity and access your settings for services such as Blogger, Calendar, Docs, Google+ and more.