One of the things we get asked about quite frequently is computer security. Specifically what are some of the things your average user can do to remain safe.
If we were to list all of the things that came to mind right away, this blog post would quickly get out of hand. So we’ve narrowed it down to three simple categories that most users can agree are essential to computer security.
1. STAY UP-TO-DATE
Keeping your software updated might possibly be the most important security tip of all.
First and foremost your operating system should always be kept up-to-date. Microsoft releases updates for Windows about once a month, which by default are downloaded and installed automatically. Mac users can update their computers by clicking on the Apple icon and selecting the “Check for updates” option.
The other piece of software that you should really make sure is up-to-date is your web browser. Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are self updating, which makes things easy. Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge updates automatically through Windows Update.
2. SECURITY SOFTWARE
“Security software” is a pretty broad term that can be used to describe any and all security-related applications, including firewalls, antivirus software and security suites, and even browser add-ons.
Recommendations vary, depending upon whom you ask, but the consensus is to have at least a firewall and an antivirus program running on the system.
The firewall can be a hardware firewall that comes with your router or modem, or a software firewall like Windows Firewall, or another third-party product. Most security suites come with their own firewall. Windows users should at the very least have Windows Firewall turned on (which it is by default).
As with firewalls, there are a lot of choices out there when it comes to antivirus software. We highly recommend Emsisoft Anti-Malware, both for it’s award-winning protection, and it’s ease of use.
Whichever antivirus you choose please keep in mind that you will only want to choose one. Running multiple antivirus software applications can cause high system resource usage, and could even damage your operating system installation.
Browser add-ons and extensions like “No Script” can further protect the computer, but should really be reserved for more advanced users.
3. COMMON SENSE
Most internet security experts agree that common sense is an extremely important weapon in one’s security arsenal.
Common sense should keep you from making silly mistakes. You just received an email with an .exe attachment from someone you don’t know? Common sense should tell you to not open it. It should also prevent you from replying to emails from PayPal, Google, or your bank asking for your username, password, and credit card information.
That email from Nigeria that promises you vast wealth in you just make a small deposit? That international lottery that says you’re a winner? The Iraqi princess? Common sense should tell you that it’s all bunk.
“Better safe than sorry” sums it up pretty well. As does “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is”.
These three things; Staying up-to-date, security software, and common sense, when taken together, are a large part of the overall strategy for remaining safe online. As technology becomes more sophisticated your tactics will have to follow suit, but these three basic concepts will always serve you well.
Of course, if you would like to learn more, or have any questions, feel free to contact us here at No Ware Computer Repair.