With the online holiday buying season upon us, the most important thing
to remember is computer security. Each day millions of threats cycle
through the Internet, most of which harm computers and home networks.
These threats hunt for credit card numbers, social security numbers,
and other personal information and can be used against you in the form
of identity theft. Here are some tips to help secure your PC and keep
your information safe and locked down.
1. Windows Update
This is the number one reason computers fall victim to malicious
threats (viruses, spyware, etc.) is not updating the Windows operating
system. During the spring of 2009, the virus named "conficker" targeted
computers that were not fully updated. To update the Windows, first the
computer needs to be connected to the Internet, whether it would be
wired or wireless network connection. Then go to Start > Programs > Windows Update
. Let Widows Update complete and afterward your computer will be up-to-date.
2. Anti-Virus Program
Some sort of anti-virus software should be the bare minimum for
computer security. Not having protection can increase the chances of
viruses, trojans, spyware, adware, and identity theft. There are some
free as well as paid versions, but for basic web surfing and email free
versions will work just fine. Here are some recommended free anti-virus
AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition
Avast Home Edition
Microsoft Security Essentials
A firewall blocks incoming web traffic not requested by the computer
user. Firewalls can prevent malware from entering the computer thus
fewer viruses and spyware. A great, free firewall program called Comodo
can protect your PC and the user can select various security levels for added protection.
4. Windows Defender
Windows Defender is spyware program from Microsoft that is built in to
Windows Vista and Windows 7 and as a download for Windows XP, which can
be found here
. Defender offers protection from spyware, pop-ups, and slow performance. To access Windows Defender, go to Start > Programs > Windows Defender
then click the scan button at the top of the window and then remove the
threats when complete. Windows Defender is a simple solution to
increase computer performance.
Encryption continues to be a major issue in protecting computer data if
it fell into the wrong hands. Many users have huge amounts of
information about themselves on their computer including pictures,
internet history, email messages, contacts, login usernames and
passwords, and much much more. What encryption does is locks the files
with a series of numbers and letters making impossible to decode or
read for that matter. But the user can read the files with a key and a
password which unlocks the files that were encrypted. I recommend using
for encrypting files and works with all versions of Windows.
As for all security software, plan on allowing, at minimum, running all
the security programs (anti-virus, firewall, Defender, and more) each
week to make sure the computer is protected. It's very easy to secure
computers and with a few clicks you even can make it automatic.
If questions arise or need assistance installing or running any of the
programs mention above, please feel free to contact me. I will be happy to assist you in any way.