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Safety & security

If you absolutely have to keep using Windows 7, here’s how to stay safe

Are you still using Windows 7? In case you haven’t heard, Microsoft recently ended support and now it’s a huge security risk that’s practically begging hackers to take advantage of it.

Since Microsoft won’t be releasing any further security updates, you’re risking hacks, malware and viruses by staying on the outdated operating system. Tap or click here for more about Windows 7 security risks.

We definitely recommend upgrading to Windows 10, but if you have to stick with an older computer that’s not compatible, or it’s the operating system your workplace still uses, there are certain programs and habits that provide extra layers of protection.

These programs and practices won’t leave you nearly as safe as the latest version of Windows, but a little security is better than none at all.

Start with the basics: Make sure you’re running a solid anti-virus

With the end of support for Windows 7, having a strong security suite is an absolute must. If your computer isn’t able to meet the minimum requirements for your preferred service, tap or click here to learn how to make the switch to Windows 10. It’s time.

In fact, here’s what Microsoft has to say about it:

While you could continue to use your PC running Windows 7, without continued software and security updates, it will be at greater risk for viruses and malware.

To see what else Microsoft has to say about Windows 7, visit its end of life support page.

What are the most common ways hackers attack their victims? There are phishing scams, viruses attached to emails, spoofed government or popular shopping and social media websites, automatic downloads from sketchy sources and more. Tap or click to see how one type of ransomware can lock you out of your PC.

Get rid of Internet Explorer

Certain programs are basically obsolete — like Internet Explorer. The long-running joke is that IE is so full of issues and it lags so badly that it just isn’t worth using anymore.

The last thing you want is to use an insecure browser on an obsolete OS. If all you use is Internet Explorer, it’s time to download literally another browser, such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

Since IE isn’t safe to use anymore, try getting the new Microsoft Edge. Microsoft’s latest browser distinguishes itself from IE and Edge Legacy with a new icon, new features and more accessibility tools.

The best part? It’s available for download for Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10. It’s also available for iOS and Android.

Just hit the yellow button above and choose the drop-down menu next to “DOWNLOAD for Windows 10.” Choose Windows 7 and agree to the License Terms. Follow the on-screen prompts, and you’ll have a trustworthy, more secure browser.

Important internet safety rules

The best way to avoid these attacks is to follow these internet safety rules:

  1. Don’t share personal information – Refrain from giving away any personally identifying information, even if it’s just to that innocent-looking social media site. Tap or click to see what happened to Twitter users who shared too much information.
  2. Always adjust privacy settings – Most sites have privacy settings, so use them! They’re pretty self-explanatory and can make all the difference when it comes to security. Tap or click here for 5 Amazon security settings.
  3. Browse safely – If you wouldn’t walk through a sketchy neighborhood, then don’t browse sketchy sites. Hackers often claim to have free content you can download or offer too-good-to-be-true deals to entice you to click their links. If you’re not familiar with the site and if it seems even just a little questionable, avoid it. This includes adult websites and free download pages. Tap or click for 10 tips for safe browsing.
  4. Secure your internet connection – Make sure your router settings are secure. Tap or click here to adjust your router settings. And when you create a password for your Wi-Fi network, make sure it’s strong. Tap or click here for 5 new rules to create the best passwords.
  5. Shop online carefully – When you want to make online purchases, most sites require credit or debit card information. Make sure the site is trustworthy, or tap or click here for the best ways to pay online without your bank cards.

Follow these rules and hackers will be hard-pressed to access your system.

RELATED: Tap or click here if you’re not sure how to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10

More tips to stay safe

If you can, learn how to update your computer to Windows 10 and see a few Windows 10 tips by tapping or clicking here. If you’re stuck with Windows 7, follow the safety precautions outlined above. Good luck.

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