How Safe Is Your Computer?

Why is it we take precautions to protect our PIN number at the ATM machine but neglect our computers? Did you know that it takes approximately 20 minutes to infect an unprotected computer.  I would strongly suggest that everyone take a look at their anti-virus program and make sure that its doing its job.  Make sure its up to date and also make sure to update Microsoft Windows while you’re at it.  With a few simple steps you can have a safe computer and an even safer internet experience.  With that being said we must also keep in mind that any anti-virus software on your computer will not be able to protect you 100% of the time.  Updating your software will help to prevent viruses. 

Follow these steps to help protect yourself and your computer while on the internet:

  1. Install anti-virus software: One of the biggest mistakes people make is to assume that once the anti-virus software is installed they are protected.  An outdated anti-virus program is no protection at all, make sure it is updated regularly. The program has to be updated so that it can recognize new viruses. For a good free anti-virus program try Microsoft Security Essentials for XP and Vista/Win7
  2. Install a Firewall: A firewall acts as a barrier between your home computer and the internet.  It can help to screen out unauthorized access to your system. For home pc users, a firewall can be a software program commonly found in Internet Security packages. It can also be a hardware device such as a router that plugs in between your modem and your computer.
  3. Keeping Your Operating System Up To Date: Download security updates and patches regularly.  The popularity of Windows has made it far too easy to attack. Regular updates is a must and most systems can be scheduled to update on its own.
  4. Spyware Scanners: Spyware is a general term used for software that is downloaded, in most cases without your knowledge, and it seeks out information about you or your computer.  Some spyware will change your home page or create pop-up ads.  Other types of spyware are a little more vicious and can create a great deal of problems.  To counter act spyware and anti-spyware program should be installed.  I use SuperAntiSpyware and Malwarebytes
  5. Secure Wireless Networks: Always make sure wireless networks are secure by placing a password on the network.  Any computer that wants to access your network will require that password.  If your wireless network is not protected then anyone can gain access to your network and do whatever they want including downloading inappropriate material.

In upcoming articles I will discuss Safe Practices and How To Protect Your Children On The Internet.  I hope you have found this information useful.

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