Do you have anti-virus software on your computer?
If you do, congratulations. You have taken the first step toward real computer security.
However, many people think installing anti-virus software is the only step they need to protect their computer and the data stored in it.
Or they may know they need to do more about computer security, but don’t know how.
Keeping your computer secure can be a daunting task, but it isn’t rocket science. According to the security professionals for their best and simplest tips to make computers as secure as possible.
Install a free anti-virus and anti-spyware program.
Anti-virus software is the front line of computer security. But the experts also recommend that you update your anti-virus and virus definitions when prompted.
Better yet, adjust the settings so that they update automatically–good anti-virus software will update definitions more than once a day.
While no anti-virus software will catch everything, updated software will catch more than software that isn’t updated.
Use different passwords for different sites.
The biggest problem undermining password security isn’t that passwords are too short or too simple.
It’s that many people use a single password over and over again, with the result that one website’s data breach will jeopardize accounts on many sites.
“One easy option is to make all your online-retailer logins and password different from your financial logins, and those different from your email password,”said CEO of Nerds On Call in Redding.
“Remembering three passwords based on a category is easier than remembering a constantly changing single password.”
Make your home wireless network private – or even invisible.
Home Wi-Fi networks can easily be found by scanners on laptops, smartphones and stand alone devices. Most of people have learned to secure them with password-based encryption, but there are still a lot of holdouts.
“With the proliferation of wireless in home and business, securing these connections is an important step in keeping very bad things from happening,” said J.Wiltz Curter Jr.,owner and Chief technology officer of TechKnolutions, a technology consultancy in Brandon, Miss.
“While manufacturers have made it simpler [to turn on encryption], the unfortunate fact is neighborhoods remain filled with vulnerable wireless networks.”
In fact, you may want to take the next step and set Wi-Fi router to not broadcast its network name, or SSID. That way, people driving down the street scanning for open networks can’t see yours at all.
Look for signs for a secure websites.
How can you be sure your online banking site is really what it claims to be, or that you,re really logged into Gmail? There are certain signs.
“These can include the padlock icon in the browser address bar, use of the ‘https’ protocol, which means means that the site is encrypted, and a green bar indicating that the owner of the site has gone through extended validation by a Certificate Authority like DigiCert to prove the organisation’s identity,” said Scott Rea, senior public-key-infrastructure architect and vice president of government/education relations at Lindon, Utah-based DigiCert.
Make sure Java is up to date – or just disable it.
The Java software engine, which Oracle acquired when it bought Sun Microsystems a few years ago, lets the same applications run on Windows, Mac and Linux machines, which makes it ideal for Web-based apps.
Unfortunately, that means one security flaw will affect all machines, and there have been a lot of flaws found in Java lately.
There are a number of attacks targeting Java in the browser. The latest Java updates tighten Java’s security by fixing security holes and making it so you have to click an applet for it to run in the background. In the past, a Java security hole meant an attacker could silently execute their malware without you knowing about it.
Make sure Windows is set to automatically install updates.
Microsoft is very diligent in providing solid, well explained security patches on the second Tuesday of every month. For the most-critical flaws, the company will push out an “out-of-band” update.
But the company can’t help you unless you’re on the ball as well. Go into Control Panel, open Windows Update and make sure it’s set to install updates automatically
This will make you sure that you always have the latest fixes fro Windows installed, You should enable automatic updates for other programs too.