Top ten ways to secure your computer
The Privacyrights.org confirms that 1,749 data breaches has been public since October 2005 to October 2010 that resulted in more than 510 million records been compromised. Ever since internet took off rapidly from 1990’s, countering cyber attacks and preserving personal and business systems have become a complex challenge as the amount of attackers has grown rapidly.
Many of you might already be well aware about some of the suggestions given in this article, so I would like you to notice that this is not the A to Z package for securing your computer, but the basics or for most of us just a beginning. More and more technology and inter-dependence will lead to more and more threats day by day, so I would like to suggest this list as a starter for all of us to be well informed about computer and internet security and to give much importance in significant areas.
1. Efficient anti- virus software
A trust worthy anti-virus software is like a pill worth swallowing to protect ourselves from getting infected by virus. This is the “Prevention is better than cure” method even though some times anti –virus software’s slows down your computer a little. Viruses can look through your computer, they can fill up your hard drive , send your data to fraudsters, and the list goes on. Anti – virus software uses virus signatures given by the software vendors and gets auto- updated. Secure your computer.
2. Protect your web browser
Most of the browsers on a new computer do not have secure default settings. If you are using internet explorer, set the security level for trusted sites to the second level in the settings, at the highest level websites might not open properly. Disable options to always set cookies. A cookie is a file saved in your computer that stores a websites data. Fraudsters may be able to log on to a site you have visited by accessing the cookie with your login details, so to prevent that, configure your browser to ask permission before setting a cookie. Disable mobile codes (Flash, ActiveX) on non familiar websites.
3. Hard to guess passwords
Make it a habit to change the passwords at least once a month. Do not save your passwords in your computer. Use passwords that have the combination of numbers, symbols and alphabets and that are hard to guess. There are password detection software out there which can perform a dictionary attack by using random dictionary words that may be used as passwords for random attempts until it succeeds. Also when using security question, choose questions which can be unlikely for internet searches to yield.
4. Uninstall programs that you do not use
Use software’s like “C cleaner” which helps to find out the files which are just temporary browsing history, browser caches etc which are unnecessary and you should delete them. Research and determine the need of software which exists in your computer and understand the purpose of it, this can help your determine unnecessary software’s on your computer. Locate the installation media for the software before deleting a file if you are in a dilemma, it will be helpful if in case you need to re install it.
5. Installing a firewall and keep it up to date
The device that controls the flow of data from the internet to your computer is the firewall. Most of today’s operating system has a built-in firewall, so ensure to install a firewall if your operating system does not have one. Hardware firewalls like routers will help you to choose which specific kind of data should be allowed to your computer.
6. Carefully choose which websites to visit
Do not click on unknown links, emails and instant messages, and do not install software’s suggested from an unknown pop-up window. There are sites that are out there to get you, these sites are programmed to get your attention by presenting interesting information as topics or pictures. Do not open attachments or links unless you are certain that it is safe, even if it comes from a person you are very familiar with.
7. Back up your data on a regular basis
Back up all your important data which are at a state of risk or which could be accidentally erased or misused. Natural disasters, power outages, lost devices etc are not only troublesome to us but also to your important data which has time utility, so it is always recommended to have an external source of back up data. Loss of data carries an enormous consequence that in some cases could put an organization out of business.
8. Be offline when not required
Even though this might sound silly it carries lot of importance. Once your computer is connected to the internet, it also means millions of other computers can access your computer. Hackers prefer exploiting “always online” connections, and if your internet is more intermittent, your computer will drag less attraction to hackers.
9. Enable auto updates to all the security software’s
Auto update for anti virus, anti spyware and firewall are the most necessary steps needed to safe guard your computer, every PC which is connected to internet or other mediums to access data should have these software which is updated by their respective vendors frequently. These updates are required for your operating system too, so enable automatic updates if your vendors offer it, but not from any other sites which might look similar.
10. Unattended computers & frequent power cuts increases risk
Even though the risk from internet is apparently high, it is equally important to do the most necessary step which is right in front of you. Get a UPS for uninterrupted power supply which could at least let you safely shut down the system, this will also save your router etc from loosing their settings. Leaving your computer unattended depends on where your computer or laptop is located, so password protection is best suggested, and set your settings to auto lock in two or three minutes if unattended.
Secure your computer.