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Computer Security - Top 10 Tips

Bots, computer viruses, computer worms, hackers, spamming, phishing, spyware, the types and the quantity of malicious programs are on the rise every year.  Most computer users have to deal with these programs on a daily basis, so what can you do to protect yourself from these attacks?

1)     Install an antivirus + antispyware or all-in-one internet security program

Only install internet security programs from reputable software developers.  Do not run free scan or free download unless you have done your research on these products.  Some free antivirus, antispyware programs may actually install Trojan horses, adware or spyware in your computer.

2)     Install security programs that provide active real time protection

Some free antivirus or antispyware programs provide free scan to detect computer viruses or spyware which have infected your computer.  However, they cannot provide active, real time protection.  Some computer viruses are smart enough to prohibit you from going to the free scan sites.  They could also cause damage to your computer before you run the free scan.

3)     Keep your internet security programs up to date

Good internet security programs update their database frequently and allow you to run automatic update either hourly or daily.  Remember to renew your program once the annual subscription has expired.  An out of date program cannot protect you from new threats that come out every day.

4)     Install a firewall program

Configure your firewall program to block any unsolicited inbound or outbound communication. This can protect you from hacker attack.  In addition, many malicious programs run and spread via the internet connection without your knowledge.  Blocking unauthorized outbound requests can stop the spread of these programs. 

5)     Update your application programs and browser programs

Many programs have vulnerabilities which are subject to all sorts of malicious attack.  Software developers often locate these vulnerabilities and release security patches to fix the problems.  You should download these updates regularly for maximum protection.

6)     Be vigilant and selective about what you download to your computer

There are many free programs, free games and free music files available on the internet. While many of them are harmless, some are malicious programs in disguise or infected by computer viruses or spyware. 

7)     Be careful with email attachment

Do not open unexpected email attachment even if it comes from people in your address book. Computer viruses and worms can replicate and spread by themselves using the address book of the victim.  If your friendís computer is infected, he may send you the computer virus or worm unknowingly.  Internet security programs can protect your computer by scanning the attachment before you open it or save it in your computer.

8)     Delete spam messages

Some spam messages are just unsolicited advertising, they are merely a nuisance.  Some spam messages contain links which land on bogus sites to steal your personal information (phishing). They will use scare tactics to trick you to click on the link.  For example, they said they would close your PayPal account or bank account unless you log in and update your personal information following their link. The bogus sites may look very similar to the legitimate PayPal or bank sites.  Spam messages can also be used to spread malicious programs such as computer viruses and spyware.  When you receive spam messages, do not click on the link or open any attachment, just delete them.  You can also install a spam filtering software or use the email programs to block the sender.

9)     Watch out for computer virus hoaxes

You may receive email message warning you about a computer virus and ask you to forward the message to as many people as possible. It may also ask you to search for a certain file in your computer and delete it immediately.  These warnings are sometimes hoaxes, they try to deceive you to believe something is true but in fact, it is not.  The file you delete may be a legitimate file required for some programs to run.  Whenever you receive these messages, go to the internet and search for the topic first.  Do not delete any file or forward the message unless you are certain that the warning is true.

10)  Change your password frequently

Do not use the same password for all sites.  Change your password frequently using complex words with characters and numbers.  If you canít remember all the passwords, use a password management software which can help you to fill in the forms automatically.



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