10 Simple Steps to Keep Your Computer Safe
You don’t really need to understand what malware is or why people create these programs. All you need to know is that you don’t want it on your computer and some basic steps to protect yourself.
Although no solution is guaranteed to be 100 percent fool proof, if you follow these 10 basic steps your chances of infection will be dramatically reduced.
1. Be cautious when using the internet, if you are not sure that what you are doing or clicking on is safe, don’t do it. Which means don’t download anything illegally, don’t click on free offers, and stay away from pornography sites.
2. Install a router between the box from your internet provider and your computer. You can pick up a cheap router for $20 – $40 from any electronics store. If you purchase a wired router, you just need to plug it in and go. If you purchase a wireless router, you should take some time and make sure the wireless signal is secure. If you don’t, one of your neighbors could hop on your system and intentionally or unintentionally cause some harm to your setup.
3. Install a reputable antivirus program. Read about the software on www.download.com to make sure it is of decent quality. Pick something with at lease 4 out of 5 stars.
4. Install a reputable antispyware program. Read up on it the same as you would for the antivirus program. Antivirus and antispyware programs are different and you will need both. Some companies will offer packages that are all inclusive, for example: Norton Internet Security. The all inclusive packages tend to be bloated and will slow your computer down the same as a virus would, as a general rule of thumb stay away from them.
5. Only renew your protection software once at most after that, purchase the latest version that is being sold. Companies that create protection software are always coming up with better ways to find and stop malware. These methods always make it into their latest software. When you renew your license on older software you miss out on these latest and greatest protection methods because it is often to difficult to update the old software.
6. Update your protection software at least once a week. If you are not sure how to do this, once the software is installed, click on help and search for update. The topics that come up will tell you how to update the “definitions”.
7. Scan with your antivirus and antispyware programs at least once a week. There shouldn’t be anything on your system, but this checks to make sure nothing made it past your defenses in the last week.
8. Download and install all critical updates from Microsoft. This will be turned on by default, don’t turn it off and don’t let your friends turn it off. These updates will close security holes and help ensure you are safe.
9. Don’t open email that is being forwarded all over the place and if you do, please don’t forward it. It is common for these emails to have viruses hiding in them. Also, those long lists of email addresses you see on these emails are gathered by spammers. This is one of the main ways that spammers obtain your address so the can offer you millions of dollars from Nigeria or guaranteed ways to enlarge different parts of your body.
10. Make sure the windows firewall is turned on. It will be on by default. You can install another firewall program if you like, but typically these programs are better suited for more advanced computer users. Unless they are configured correctly, you will be stopped from doing many of the activities you actually want to do.
Follow these easy steps, and make sure that everyone else who uses your computer follows these steps as well. It doesn’t do you any good if your husband, wife, brother, sister, child, or friend is opening you up to harmful malware by their computer usage habits. Have everyone who uses your computer read this article; it will let them know the basics to help keep you and them safe.