Check if your computer is vulnerable to hackers or espionage attempts

We still talk about cyber security and after advising everyone to see the Mr Robot TV series to find out how hackers can spy on us let's see, in practice, if our PC is safe from hacker attacks or if we are vulnerable to being spied on in any case.
Viruses or, better, malware are the most used means by hackers to get hold of a computer, to control it remotely and use it for their own purposes or to spy on it.
Antivirus on a Windows PC is therefore a program you cannot miss (and fortunately in Windows 8 and 10 it is included), while on Macs it is becoming increasingly important since Apple systems have also recently had problems malware.
As seen in another article, it is possible to check if the antivirus is working well in protecting the computer, in case you had the doubt that it didn't.
It is also important to check that the antivirus updates automatically every day or almost every day.
If it does not, because maybe it requires to be paid, it is better to uninstall it and replace it with one of the best free antivirus.
Note that some problems are symptoms of a virus on your PC.
However, what keeps any hacker spying on a PC away is not the antivirus but a special device or program, the firewall, indispensable in companies, optional for a user who uses the computer at home.
The firewall, as mentioned, can be a hardware device, or a specifically dedicated computer or a software, or a program similar to antivirus.
The firewall can control both incoming and outgoing internet traffic, possibly blocking connections and data that may be harmful or are not authorized in any case.
Depending on the settings, it can also be used to allow or block connections from specific domains or applications.
We have seen, in other articles, how you can control the firewall included in Windows, which are the best free firewalls for PC and how you can activate the firewall on Mac.
as explained, however, a firewall is important only if services and programs that can be contacted from the outside are kept active on the computer.
In the absence of these, basically a firewall is superfluous for almost every normal user.
In general, unless you really have very sensitive and important data on your computer concerning private personal facts, the firewall included in the Windows system and all automatic or that of the Mac (which instead is not active by default) are more than enough to protect your PC from external intrusions.
It is therefore not necessary to install an additional program that functions as a firewall, especially if you connect to the internet via a router, which alone already works with a filter on the internet connection.
On the active firewall, always speaking of the general case of 99% of users without particular needs, it is important only to filter the incoming connections and not the outgoing ones.
For the most part, creating and maintaining a firewall is automatic and there is really nothing to configure.
To make sure the firewall is up, however, tests can be done by connecting to some sites like Gibson Research Corporation's ShieldsUP! which checks more than 1, 000 ports on your computer making sure none are listening.
If there are no active ports (that is, if there are no programs that connect to the internet and await instructions remotely as malware would do), it becomes very difficult for a hacker to find access using standard intrusion methods.
Regarding the possibilities of being spied on from the outside or, excluding hacker intrusions, we have at least three factors to consider:
1) We can be spied on by websites that always know where we connect from, with which PC, with which browser and also, if fraudulently designed, which sites we have visited before.
In other articles we have also seen:
- How Google sees us and what it knows about us "> What the web knows about us
- All data that Google collects about us
- 10 reasons to unsubscribe from Facebook and main problems.
2) We can be spied on by internet providers or telephone companies .
3) We can be spied on by the programs we install on the computer .
In this regard, we must take care of the security of the program most exposed to the internet, namely the web browser.
Whether you use Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer, it is important that this is always updated to the latest version and that it does not have plugins or extensions inside that can open vulnerabilities.
Ideally, as mentioned in other articles, all the plugins should be removed to make the browser safer.
In a more general guide we have seen how to keep the browser protected from attacks and malware
In conclusion, it is rather difficult to be truly sure that our computer is safe from intrusions and attempts at espionage from the outside.
Once connected to the internet, unless you browse using TOR what we do can be seen from the outside and the computer naturally remains vulnerable to possible intrusion attempts.
However, if you have nothing to hide, if we adequately protect our web accounts, if we keep an antivirus updated and do not make basic errors such as randomly clicking on each link on the internet, then we can be reasonably calm.
After all, a hacker, if he has to commit himself to violate our PC or our Email account (and we don't keep the door open), really should have some valid reason to do it.
I therefore refer to the PC security checklist to check if we are protected enough on the internet .

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