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security spiral

Haven’t we all had problems with internet safety? The entire concept seems almost paradoxical in this day and age. New threats arise and abound by the day, hour, and moment, or so it seems. Products like Flash Player, Java, and Microsoft Windows all have become increasingly vulnerable even as their popularity increases. However, observing certain precautions should prevent such security mishaps and provide the security and safety you or your business requires.

Tip one: firewalls

A firewall is a piece of software that blocks certain data from your network and your computer. One example would be disallowing specific emails or file sharing. Many computers operating through a router already have a type of hardware firewall installed. Check to see if yours is intact and functioning, or add this necessary barrier to the potential dangers.

Tip two: be aware of viruses

Even firewalls cannot prevent all viruses. That is when a virus scanner may become necessary. Like a human virus, they must be stopped before they spread. A “real-time” virus scanner will stop the spread even before the virus hits the disk. However, at times this application may slow your computer down or even interfere with other operations. Critically though, keep your virus programs and definitions up-to-date. Always enable auto-updating features so that you are worry-free or at least more worry-free than you are now.

Tip three: moving about

laptop mobile cafe

Extra precautions should be taken if you travel and use a variety of internet sources, such as hot spots, free Wi-Fi, hotel internet, or cafes. Basically, do not allow people to steal your password by watching your computer activities from a public place. Also, be certain that you are only using secure connections that your regular mail program has facilitated for you.

Tip four: spyware scans

Spyware collects information silently about you or your business; ergo, it “spies” on you. This spying may be unexpected, unannounced, and certainly undesired. Some of the ways you may be “spied” on are: tracking websites you visit, adding features to your system that you did not ask for, recording your keystrokes, or even stealing your account login information. Spyware scanners will locate the cunning spies and remove them from your system.

Tip five: staying updated

This is one of the simplest ways to avoid computer security breaches; simply install updates as they arrive. The easiest was to do this is to enable Windows automatic updates in both your Windows and in your applications. Also, visiting “Windows Update” frequently should raise your awareness about your own system’s security.

Tip six: self-education

feed the phish
Image credit: University of Idaho

Being careful is probably the most important advice you can receive and heed when it comes to computer security. For example, do not open attachments from a completely unknown source. Do not fall for scams. People who seek to scam you are “phishing” for inroads into your information and your accounts. Do not take the bait, keep on swimming.

Do not clink on random links, and resist installing “free” software without checking into it first. “Free” is usually not free of spyware, or even worse. How many times has a pop-up asked you to install something for free? First of all, you should notice the anger you feel about being interrupted from your task. At this point, one must either get rid of the phisher or at least research its validity.

And the biggest one: choose secure passwords and do not share them. This can become a tedious activity, especially if you have to try to remember all of your passwords. Research the idea of password complexity and safety and arrive at one or two that are safe and secure, maybe for a good long while if you are lucky.

Tip seven: staying with your property

Keeping your computer devices with you physically is a good, old-fashioned practice to avoid security breaches. Sometimes, even sharing with a family member or a roommate can lead to problems.

[Featured image credit: Getty Images / Image cropped]

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