As we talked about , October is Security Awareness Month. It is important to keep your computer and your data as secure as possible all year long, but during this month, it is important to focus on keeping your computer safe (yes, this includes Macs). This is a growing area of concern. Our government has a special office just to deal with security and attacks related to computers.
Lets quickly talk about security with regards to software on your computer. You definitely want to make sure your computer's operating system (OS) has all the latest updates and patches. Frequently, the creators of these software programs will release updates to patch holes or fix security issues. If you don't have the latest patches, you computer is opened up to an already discovered security flaw. Each company has a different way of dealing with updates. Find out what process you need to follow and follow it.
Your OS is not the only software that needs updating. From time to time, other software vendors will put out patches for their software. Recently Java and Adobe put out updates to their software because of discovered security holes. It is good practice from time to time to go through your software and make sure it is updated. You can do this yourself or find a professional to do it for you.
Another piece of software that needs to be updated regularly is your virus and or spyware scanner. These programs work together to keep the malicious software off your computer. Because they are the front line of defense, they need to be updated frequently (sometimes more than once in a day). Many of the virus scanners out now will update themselves, but you need to make sure that your program is updating. Inside your programs will be a setting or some type of information to tell you how it needs to be updated.
Once updated, you need to make sure you are running regular scans of your system. Again, as with the updates, some programs will do this automatically at a set date and time, others will require you to run them manually. Find out what yours requires and make sure you are scanning for potential threats.
Even with following the above steps, you computer could still become compromised. Here are some tips to keep your computer from becoming infected.
- Use common sense: If you don't know who sent an e-mail attachment, or the attachment sounds too good to be true, don't open it. You also did not win a lottery in Nigeria. Sorry, but you didn't. Don't respond to scams.
- Before downloading anything, scan it with your virus scan for potential threats
- Don't use file sharing programs like Torrents, BearShare, etc. They are flooded with viruses.
- Update your web browser to the latest version. It doesn't matter if you are using Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome or something else. Make sure you have the latest version.
- Make sure you have a backup. Few things in life are worse than having to tell a customer that all their photos, videos or documents have been wiped out. Make a plan to backup data and follow it regularly.
- Get a good firewall. A firewall will protect you from incoming and outbound infections. If possible, you should upgrade the Windows firewall that comes with your machine.
- Using the information provided in this blog will help keep your computer secure. Do you have any other tips or ways that you keep your computer secure? Help your fellow computer users out and leave your suggestions in the comments below. Thanks!