Computer/Internet safety tips
ediaro Safety Tips: Computer/Internet
Computer/internet security risks have become a topic of interest to people who use and rely on them for various reasons. We use computers at home and in our businesses. We use them to access the Internet, develop documents, send and receive e-mails, play games to name a few. However, as the legitimate use of the Internet increases throughout our nation and the world, the wrongful use of the Internet to commit crime and victimize people also increases. The following safety information are meant to help you protect yourself, your loved ones, your friends, your neighbors and your community safe, secure and as crime free as possible.
1. Start With the Basics. Most computer systems come with security features already in place. For example, the Windows operating system is pre-installed with Microsoft Windows Security Center. When you first open, boot up and register a new computer, you should make sure that this program is functioning. It will give basic protection against spyware, viruses and malware. In addition, a basic firewall is built into this program, providing additional protection and stops for potentially harmful programs. Upon activation, don’t be surprised if your security system needs immediate updating. Software that protects your computer needs regular and consistent updating to stay useful. Viruses are constantly being generated and the several-month lag between when your computer was made and when you first started using it can mean that the database the security system is loaded with is severely out-of-date.
2. Upgrade to Meet Your Needs. Many people operate computers for a long time with only basic protection in place. However, heavy computer users or those who have risky browsing habits can sometimes benefit from upgrading their virus, spyware and malware protection, as well as using a fuller-featured firewall; this is especially important if you use a networked computer system. Basic or free virus protection will still scan and update for viruses. Paid programs, however, offer more features, including ease-of-use and convenience features. The most important thing is to verify the publisher and make sure you are getting what is promised. Most well-known virus protection programs, such as Avast, Kaspersky, AVG and Norton Security, have reviews available to help you make your choice.
3. Learn About Spyware Risks. Spyware creates risks that many computer users are not aware of. If you are only protecting against viruses, you could be leaving your computer open to damage. Most people are familiar with spyware that initiates and attracts annoying ad programs. Spyware, however, can be much more malicious as well. Your shopping habits can be tracked by spyware. While not exactly harmful, some people consider this a breach of privacy. The worst spyware programs interfere with normal operations and can even track what you type, sending personal information to people who want to steal your identity. Some spyware redirects your browser to different web addresses, increasing your risks of virus infection and fraud.
4. How Viruses Work. The main difference between spyware and viruses is how they are spread. A virus reproduces itself and attaches to any document that the computer sends, while spyware can be stored as a cookie or tracking code. A virus is most often found traveling with a piece of computer software, such as a document, picture or piece of music. When dealing with email, it is necessary to open an attachment to become infected, indicating that, in most cases, the computer user must somehow invite the malicious software to replicate on their system. Of course, most people have no idea it is there or what is happening. Some of the sneakiest and most harmful viruses actually masquerade as virus protection software, making them extremely hard to detect. Because of this, it’s crucial to be familiar with your particular virus protection program and know what it looks like and what the normal scripts and prompts are during operation. Viruses do some of the same things that spyware does; they just accomplish it differently. An active virus can steal personal information, generate ads or shut down your system, including the very virus protection programs that can fix the issue.
To protect yourself, frequently update your anti-virus software. Even the best anti-virus software isn’t much help unless you keep it updated. New PC threats emerge daily—even hourly—and variations can often be engineered to slip by previous software versions. Most anti-virus software allows easy online updating – by turning the antivirus automatic update on.
5. Take Steps For Protection. Like anything, the best way to protect against viruses is to be educated. Become familiar with what malicious software may look like. If you get an email or are asked to download a file that you don’t recognize or looks suspicious, do your homework. Research virus protection, spyware, malware and firewall programs and use them to their fullest capacity. Set the software to update and scan automatically to make sure that the system is constantly monitored. In addition, regularly check on the databases published by various virus protection services; many will provide lists of symptoms and risks, as well as the standard way the file gains access for no cost to the public.
6. Use plain old common sense. When in doubt, err of the side of safety. Delete email attachments from people you don’t know (WITHOUT opening them!). Beware especially aware of tempting animations on unprofessional-looking sites. Keep an eye out for strange links or attachments in Instant Messaging (IM) programs—they just might contain malicious code.
7. Avoid downloading files of which you’re unsure. Be on the lookout for files such as freeware, screensavers, games or other executable programs. Internet news groups and web sites may be full of potential threats, so be sure to scan all downloads before running them. It may be helpful to download files to a “Scan” folder and then scan the entire folder’s contents.
8. Protect system startups. Make sure to configure anti-virus software to launch automatically and run constantly, ensuring that you’re always protected, this is mostly by on by default when you just install your antivirus.
9. Scan incoming email/attachments. Again, you must scan each attached file from email or IM messages—even those from trusted sources. Most PC security software automatically performs this function.
10. Don’t automatically open email/attachments. This may seem redundant, but it’s important. Make sure your email application doesn’t automatically open messages (Check the program’s Options or Preferences menus).
11. Install professional anti-virus software — and keep virus definitions up to date. Proper anti-virus and other PC security applications can scan files for unusual changes and other warning signs. This is by far the most important step you can take to keep PCs as safe and secure as possible.
12. On your shared home computer, create multiple user accounts and assign a password to each user of the same computer to limit access to sensitive areas.
13. Don’t take the computer around to public areas, vacations or business trips if you don’t have to. When and if you do, make sure the computer is in your possession at all times. For example, when you take your computer to a café, make sure you have someone you trust watch over your computer if you have to go to the bathroom.
14. Don’t dispose of your computer without first making sure that all sensitive contents are cleared from it.
15. Use a personal firewall on your laptop. Although some operating systems come with a personal firewall, you should use a good third-party personal firewall to secure your computer and prevent intruders from hacking back your system. This software is usually inexpensive and easy to install.
16. Apply patches to the operating systems as they become available. This could be done automatically by certain operating systems.
17. Use software to encrypt your sensitive files, so even if the computer is stolen, the stored information would be useless.
18. Develop, communicate, enforce and monitor a computer security policy for your business (or your family).
19. Educate your employees, family members, friends, agents, accountants, attorneys and others with whom you do business or allow handling of your sensitive information. Make sure everyone is aware of the identity theft risks and how they can help deter this threat.
20. When accessing the Internet especially for online banking and bill payment, always attempt to use trusted computers such as your office or home computer. When using public computers for highly sensitive transactions, consider the trust level you have with the facility providing Internet access. There are public computers that are more trustworthy than others and as such may not have spyware and predatory eyes to spy on your passwords and gain unauthorized access to your accounts and other sensitive information. For example, a library computer or a professional association computer is less likely to have malicious software or have predatory cameras than an Internet café you just discovered while traveling.
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For over 5 years ediaro.com (a member of Fladio International Nigeria Limited) has provided web solutions and advertising for public and private sectors. Our main division is Computer and Information Technology. Thanks to our flexible approach towards the development of new solutions, we have often been at the inception of digital revolution and incorporating the most recent technologies. When you partner with ediaro.com, you are associating with one of Africa's best company for your ICT needs, we are the 1st Nigerian Company listed on the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) ECOBIZ computer session in 2010. Focusing on quality, reliability and design of our products and services has brought us customers and partnership with local and Multinational Companies such as United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Interswitch Limited, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc among others. Our current customer portfolio covers individuals, companies and Government agencies across the globe including Nigeria, India, United Kingdom, Mozambique and United States of America.