10 Tips To Make Your Computer More Secure

This tutorial will provide 10 10 tips to make your computer more secure

These tips are geared towards Windows however they are just as relevant for Linux and Mac OS users too.

1/ Update your anti-virus software once a week and run a complete test.

Anti-virus software that doesn’t have the patches for the latest virus’s is the same as not having any anti-virus software on your computer at all. If you use the free version that came with your computer when it was new make sure you renew your subscription as soon as it runs out. If you do not have anti-virus software you can get a completely free version called AVG. Run a complete virus test on your computer once a week immediately after updating your anti-virus software.

2/ Install a firewall.

Firewalls stop unauthorized programs from using your computer over the internet. If your computer is on the internet it is vulnerable. If you do not have a firewall program you can get the free Sygate Personal Firewall or free version of ZoneALARM (probably the best on the market) , please be aware that in out opinion the windows default firewall is not a real good solution.

If your firewall says that a program is trying to contact the internet and you are not sure what it is, say “no”, if a program stops working you can always say “yes” the next time it asks.

3/ Update your operating system with the latest patches every  week!

New security flaws are discovered in operating systems all the time. Your computer is vulnerable to these flaws if you do not install the free fixes that are available. Windows can be updated at http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com.

4/ Do not use Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer has more security vulnerabilities than any other web browser.

Try the free Firefox browser from http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/.

5/ Be very careful where you give personal information out.

Never enter unsolicited personal information on a website that is not secure and doesn’t begin with https. Do not respond to emails asking for personal information when you have not contacted them first. Some emails can contain links to websites that look like the real companies website but in fact just collect your information for hackers. If in doubt phone the company with the information.

6/ Be very careful opening email attachments

Email attachments can contain virus’s. Scan attachments with your anti-virus software before opening them and only open attachments that you are expecting to receive.

7/ Ignore “virus warning” emails

“Virus warning” emails can be hoaxes that make you damage your own computer. Rely on up-to-date anti-virus software to protect you. The only exception to this rule is if you work for a company with an IS&T department and they send you the message at work.

8/ Use anti-spyware software

Spyware is software that gathers personal information about you from your computer, changes your internet homepage without your permission and installs software you have not asked for. Spyware can can accidentally installed with other software or without your permission from unscrupulous websites. Lavasoft Adaware, which is free, works in the same way as anti-virus software but for spyware can be downloaded from http://www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware/. Update and run a complete test every week at the same time as your anti-virus software.

9/ Do not forward emails that claim something will happen if you send it to a certain number of people

These emails can be a way of getting you to pass on a virus. Email messages cannot count how many people you have sent them to and they will not do whatever they say they will do if you forward it to a certain number of people.

10/ Backup up important files

Backing up files such as documents, spreadsheets and photo’s that you would not want to lose will not prevent anything horrible happening, however, if something does happen it changes the event from being devastating to just an inconvenience.

Conclusion

Following these tips will greatly reduce your chances of being affected by a computer security issue. The person I know had a very close call, I urge you to spend the small amount of time it takes to protect yourself so that nothing nasty happens to you on your computer. For more information on home computer security you can go to the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) website.