1. Password Protection – A good start to computer security is to put in a barrier to unauthorised users of your computer. Protect your login id with a password. That way you can ensure that only you can access confidential information on your computer. Never disclose your passwords to other people, don’t write them down and try and make them unique with a combination of letters, numbers and other characters.
2. Operating System – Keep your operating system updated frequently. Turning on the auto-update in Windows Update will boost your computer security. Microsoft releases frequent fixes to vulnerable areas of computer security so this is critically important.
3. Anti Virus Software – Ensure your pc has up to date anti-virus software installed. This is a key element of computer security and will help detect and remove viruses as well as block spam e-mails.
4. Firewall – At the same time your computer security should be enhanced by adding a firewall especially if you are part of a network either at work or home. The firewall setting on your router should be switched on as these could leave you exposed to hackers or indeed your neighbours might be able to view what you are doing on the internet.
5. Regular Scans – Your anti-virus software may do regular background checks, but it is a good idea to run a scan at least once a week. This will help clean up your system by deleting unwanted cookies and temporary internet files.
6. E-Mail Attachments – Be very wary of attachments to e-mails sent to you, especially if they are from an unknown source. These could potentially carry a virus that will prove damaging to your computer. A good computer security tip is to ignore attachments from unknown sources and delete the e-mail. You can save any attachments or downloads to your desktop and scan them with the anti-virus software.
7. E-Mail Links – It is best not to visit websites by clicking links attached to an e-mail. Most links taking you to a home page asking for log-in or account details are scams. Any details entered here can be used by the hacker who set up the link.
8. Suspicious E-Mails – Ignore e-mails that look suspicious and delete them as these could breach your computer security. Ignore any e-mails purporting to be from your bank or someone else you hold an account with asks for personal details or passwords. This breach of computer security is sometimes known as phishing.
9. Websites – Be wary of websites you wish to enter. Some anti-virus programs offer warnings next to websites to indicate whether they can be trusted. Avoid clicking on a website if it is not rated as trustworthy.
10. Online Payments – If you need to make a payment online ensure that the payment screen is protected. The page will usually indicate that it is secure and may have a padlock image at the top of the page.
Anyone still not convinced may want to bear in mind some of the facts about viruses. In January 2007 a worm called Storm appeared on the scene. Nine months later it was believed that some 50 million computers had been infected by the worm. Computer security is so important to protect you and your personal data.