Why Should You Care About Computer Security and Securing Your PC?
Computers help us stay connected to the world today and we use them for online banking and online bill paying, shopping, communicating with our friends and family through email and social media, surfing the internet, and so much more. We rely so heavily on our computers to provide these services that we sometimes overlook and completely forget about their security.
Because our computers are now part of our lives and we do not think about all the personal information that becomes part of the computer, it’s important to improve their security so we can continue to rely on them and keep our information safe.
Attackers can infect your computer with malicious software, or malware, in many different ways. They can take advantage unsecure computers and flaws in your computer’s programs (flaws including vulnerabilities and unsecured services and features) and use social engineering (in which an attacker convinces someone to perform an action such as opening a malicious email attachment or following a malicious link).
Once your computer is infected, intruders can use the malware to access your computer without your knowledge to perform unwanted actions. They can steal your personal information, change computer configurations, cause your computer to perform unreliably, and install even more malware they can use to leverage attacks or spread malware to others computers in the Internet.
Top 5 Basic ways to secure your PC and the things you can do to keep it secure.
Here I will explain how to secure your PC that will keep you safe while surfing the Internet and communicating through email, chat and web.
#1 -Install a network firewall between your home/business connection and your provider.
Provider = who you get your Internet service from, could be your local cable TV company and or Phone company This can be a basic Linksys/Cisco router either wireless or cabled up to a complete brand name UTM (Unified Threat Management) appliance. This will not only protect you from “network” based attacks, it also provides a security layer between you and the outside world.
Bonus – Securing You WIFI Connection
Most people buy a wireless router and take it out of the box and connect it to the cable companies or phone companies router/connection and start using it right away. Not because that is what you are suppose to do or not do.. Most people just don’t know. Here is are some basic steps to ensure you get accomplished that will make your WIFI connection safe and secure.
Step 1: Create/change Administration password.
Step 2: Change your router name to something you know, not the default name or your name, but something that not too many know about.
Step 3: Setup wireless security at a minimum of WPA2 Personal create a secure password. (include letters, numbers and special characters)
Step 4: Change the default DHCP… (from 192.168.1.1 – to 172.25.1.1) Another RFC compliant IP address range.
#2 -Install and keep up to date a antivirus solution.
There are many good FREE ones out there, however once the “trial” period is over a lot of there functionality turns off and you DO really need that extra protection. So pick a good reputable Antivirus product and pay the license/subscription fees. Consider this insurance as you will get a virus and this protection is just one of many levels of protection I am speaking about today.
#3 -Turn on (leave on) Windows Update if you are running Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 or any version of Microsoft.
This allows the computer to download and update the software on it’s own. You do this as Microsoft updates all their product lines once a month on the second Tuesday of every month.
#4 -Update all Internet Facing software applications
This will include: Java | Adobe (Reader, Flash and Shockwave) | iTunes | Media Player most of these apps have an “auto updating” feature built into them, turn it on.
#5 – Never “Click” on any links within an email. Always TYPE the address (URL) into the browser.
Email, email is one of the most convenient ways we communicate today on the Internet, it is also one of the easiest ways for spammers to send viruses to your computer. If you did not ask for the email and it does not have the information in it your requested – ALWAYS use caution as most of the time you will be right. If the email has links (URL’s) inside the email, NEVER click on them, always type in the URL within your browser as this is the safest way to ensure you are really going to where you are suppose to be going.
Bonus – When in doubt, just turn your PC off.
I have received many calls from people that stated I have a virus. I got a pop-up that stated I was infected and it said to click to remove. If you ever get something like that on your computer screen – JUST TURN IT OFF. Press the power button and hold it until it completely shuts down, as if it is a virus, it will be only in memory at the present and you can “KILL” it by turning off the PC. If you clicked on the “X”, Cancel, Yes and or NO (anywhere inside the pop-up window) then the chances are very good you have allowed the virus to install on your PC.