Connecting an unprotected computer to the internet these days is dangerous. Even visiting the wrong website once can mean a compromised computer. Here is a step by step guide to protecting a computer from the dangers of the internet:
The first step is to make sure to install a virus scanner, or in the case of Windows 10, use Windows Defender. It is the most capable free virus scanner available and in future will use AI to detect threats as they happen.
The next step is to secure the computer with a firewall. Again, every OS now comes with a built-in firewall. Just ensure that everything except the ports and applications you use is open. There are detailed guides for setting up a personal firewall.
Google Chrome is currently the most secure browser. In addition, there are add-ons that will prevent popups and other links from opening in the background. There are also other plugins that block trackers and ad networks.
This is one of the most annoying for users but is also the most important. Keeping the computer up to date will ensure that malware that relies on older vulnerabilities will be negated. Update both the operating system and all the applications.
In the case of laptops and phones, only connect to known wireless networks. Especially when it comes to coffee shops and hotels. Make sure you are connecting to the right network as there are rogue networks meant to intercept your data as it goes through