These days, there are a lot of internet users who are using their laptops and computers for virtually everything that involves their personal lives, from online banking to email communication, investing in stocks to online shopping with your credit card. As we perform these activities on an increasingly regular basis, we unfortunately open ourselves up to potential crackers, hackers and attackers. While there are some that may be looking to ‘phish’ your personal identity and information strictly for resale purposes, others may simply just want to use your computer as their own platform, which they can attack other unknowing targets. Listed are some easy, cost-effective steps that you can take to make sure that your computer is secure.
Making Your Computer ‘Online’ Secure
1. Make sure you always make backup copies of important personal information, and store them in a safe secure place separate from your computer.
2. Update and patch your computers operating system, web browsers and software applications frequently. If you use the Windows operating system, go to www.windowsupdate.microsoft.com and run the update wizard, most likely, you have already set it to update itself. This site will help you find the latest security patches and updates for your Windows computer.
3. Install a firewall. Without a firewall, vicious programs such as: worms, viruses, malware, Trojans, and adware can all easily access and infect your computer. Consider the benefits as well as the differences between software and hardware based firewall programs.
5. Install good anti-virus software and make sure you set it for automatic updates so that you receive the most common and current threats.
6. Never open unknown email attachments. It’s just simply not enough that you recognize the originators email address because many of the viruses usually are planted and spread from a familiar email address.
7. Do not run applications or programs (especially .exe) from unknown sources or origins. Also, never resend these types of programs to friends, family or coworkers just because they contain something funny or informative. They may easily contain a Trojans horse waiting to infect their computer.
8. Make sure you disable hidden and unknown filename extensions. By default, the Windows operating system is preset to “hide file extensions for known file types”. Disable this option so that all your file extensions will display in Windows. Although some file extensions will still by default continue to remain as hidden, you will see any unusual file extensions that do not belong there.
9. Turn off your computer completely and disconnect it from the network when you are not using it. A hacker cannot attack your computer when your not online and you are disconnected from the internet, and the computer is turned off.
10. Always make a backup boot disk on a dvd disk, just in case your computer hard drive may get damaged or be compromised by a malicious virus program. You need to obviously take this step before you experience any hostile breaches of your computer system or network.