Computer Security Tips
Keeping your computer safe from online threats requires some preventative and active medicine. Here are some general tips that can help keep your computer, and the valuable data stored on it, safe and secure.
Install Anti-virus Software
Anti-virus software is designed to identify, neutralize and eradicate viruses that can harm your computer, destroy your data, or exploit vulnerabilities that give spammers and fraudsters access to your accounts. Choose a good quality, free anti-virus programs or one of the well-known commercial products. Take care when you download a program making sure it is from a reputable site that you trust or go to the manufacturer's website. To be effective, update the anti-virus software regularly to get the latest virus definitions. Most commercial anti-virus programs have an automatic update feature and it is recommended that you use it. For your convenience, schedule scans to run when you are not using the computer, because the resources it takes to run a scan can slow you down.
Turn on the Firewall
A firewall protects your computer from Internet traffic entering in or information leaking out. While anti-virus software scans emails and files, a firewall acts as a guard dog, keeping your system safe from unauthorized entry. It also blocks communications to and from your computer. To ensure the highest protection, it's best to use both a firewall and anti-virus software.
Install Anti-spyware Software
Spyware and adware can cause a variety of things like annoying pop-ups, the installation of unexpected toolbars or icons, redirects to inappropriate sites, keys that don't function, random error messages and sluggish performance. These types of malware are installed on your computer without your consent, and can monitor and in some cases control your computer. To lower your risk of infection, use anti-spyware and adware software. In fact, many experts recommend using at least two different programs for broader coverage.
Use the WOT addon
For the layered security approach, install the Web of Trust Firefox addon or IE plugin to warn you about spyware, viruses, spam, phishing attempts, browser exploits, unreliable online shops and online scams before you click. Share your knowledge and experience of websites with others using the WOT Internet security scorecard.
To learn more, visit these resources
- The Anti-Phishing Working Group
- Federal Trade Commission, Computers & the Internet
- Insafe European Network of E-safety awareness
- Internet Crime Complaint Center
- Microsoft Technet Antivirus Defense
- National Consumers League's Fraud Center
- OnGuard Online
- Stay Safe Online
- United States Department of Justice