In my recent article Internet Security: How You And I Can Help!, I stated that we Internet users all have to do our part to improve Internet security. I will attempt to further explain what it is, specifically, that we must do.
- We must use a suite of security tools that includes anti-spyware, firewall and anti-virus software. And have them updated automatically, so that changes to detect and remove malware can be applied to your computer.
- We must, for the same reason, be sure that our operating system and Web browser are set to automatically update also. Many times a programming error in our operating system or browser is exploited by malware, and it’s important to have the correction of those programming errors repaired on our computers.
- We must update all other software as updates become available; for the same reasons.
- We must use long, complex passwords for both our computer and our network router that include numbers, symbols and letters, and change them periodically. See my article Passwords Part III: Six Steps to A Strong Password You Can Remember for help on this.
- We must maintain vigilance online and be skeptical about giving up personal information. Our personal identity, in the form of personal information, can be used to impersonate us in order to steal from our bank or credit card accounts.
- We must turn off our computer when not using it. Cyber criminals cannot infiltrate your computer when it’s turned off.
While not an all-inclusive list, these items are a good start in securing your computer(s) against cyber crime. See What Home Users Can Do at the National Cyber Security Awareness Month website for more things to add to this list.
If you’re uncomfortable doing the things on this list yourself, please contact a technical support person to help you.
It’s imperative that we do these things to protect our computers, as a first line of defense, because most cyber crime involves personal computers. Our computers are attacked and infiltrated to steal our personal information and identity; to access our banking information and accounts; and to be used as bots and members of large bot-nets that attack websites and computer systems.
If we don’t stop our computers from being infiltrated we will not only be the victims, but also unwilling accessories to the crimes these cyber criminals commit.
Visit StaySafeOnline.org for much more information on how to support the improvement of Internet security.
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Remember, home computing is a blast…keep it productive and enjoyable.