Develop Good Computer Security Habits

Computer security is something we all need to consider. With email spam, phishing schemes and viruses on the rise, PC users need to know how to protect their data and privacy. Learn more about phishing, email, antivirus and other tips in this article written to help make users more aware of the increasing dangers of the Internet.

Having good computer security habits is something we all need to develop. As hacking and viruses evolve, so does the user. Operating System like Vista and XP have made improvements on security by turning on security features like Windows Firewall and User Account Control, but at the end of the day, the user must take a proactive approach to protecting their computers.

security habitsPasswords
While it seems obvious to have a complex password, many users do not. There are tools on the Internet that give hackers and viruses the ability to crack simple passwords in seconds. Having a password of at least eight characters mixed with number, letters and symbols make it harder. Users should also rotate and create new variations of this difficult password and not use the same one on all websites.

Phishing

Phishing is a hacking technique used commonly in emails and websites that try to obtain sensitive information from users, such as logins to bank accounts and other private information. Never click links in emails, as they can be faked. And never give out information to sites that you go to through email. If you have an online bank account for instance, be sure  to manually type in the URL if you are sent an email from them. Typing in your bank’s website ensures that you are actually going to that site and not being re-directed to a site that looks like it.

Email
Email can also be used by worms, which are viruses that procreate by emailing themselves to everyone in your email address boot. Never open attachments from friends or relatives unless you are expecting an attachment from them. Worms can send themselves in an executable attachment that installs the virus when it is opened.

Turn off the Internet
While this may be a tough pill to swallow for some users, consider turning off your computer when you’re not using it. If you are not on the Internet, you become a smaller target for random scans.

Have an Antivirus and Firewall Installed
Windows Vista and XP Service Pack 2 will have a firewall turned on by default. If you do not have one, or if you have turned off your computer’s firewall, be sure to install one. A firewall can protect you from viruses and other malware by blocking certain ports or ignoring traffic that hackers send out as feelers for unprotected PCs. Having an up to date antivirus is also necessary. You can get an anti-virus free online.

Being aware and having good computer security habits is only part of staying safe online. You must also keep Windows up to date and have a current anti-virus program.