Monday, August 8, 2011

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Tips To Keep Your Computer And Data Secured And Safe

The most valuable asset of any people or an organization is data. Loss of data results in a significant loss of revenue. While the importance of data is based on its value to an individual or an organization, effort spent to create it, the costs involved and often the significance of the data/information is not realized until it is temporarily or permanently unavailable.

Organizations have realized that the investment required to provide information protection is far less than the cost derived from the lack of information availability, accessibility or recoverability. But investment alone is not enough for protecting the data. As the computer user our part is more important for the data to be same and secure along with the computer.

If you have anti-virus software installed in Windows 7 and UAC enabled, your operating system should be perfectly secure. However, the weakest link in all computer security will always be the user. Here are my top tips for avoiding the user errors that can undermine your computer’s security.

Tips That Help You To Keep Your Computer And Data Secured And Safe 2

Keep Your Anti-Virus Software Up to Date
First things first: Make sure you are protected from external attacks by installing anti-virus software.

Make Sure You Have a Good, Up-to-Date Firewall

Just as important as anti-virus software is a firewall. This is your first line of defense against attack from outside. Again, you need to make sure it’s kept up to date as well. If you’re running Windows XP, don’t rely solely on the built-in firewall; it’s not enough.

Get Anti-Spyware Software

Anti-spyware software isn’t like a firewall or anti-virus software. There’s no reason why you couldn’t install all three packages. The more protection you get, the better. But make sure you keep them up to date. Also note that most of the free packages will require you to run regular scans manually.

Keep Windows Up to Date

It’s essential that you turn on Windows Update and leave it on. Updates are released by Microsoft on a monthly basis and, although some might require you to reboot your PC, the slight inconvenience is well worth it for the added security and peace of mind.

Keep Your Software Up to Date

Make sure you regularly check for general and security updates for the software you use the most. You can find these on the manufacturers’ websites.

Always Check Email Attachments Before Opening Them
It’s always a good idea to check all email attachments for viruses. Save them to your hard disk first, then, in Windows Explorer, right-click the file and select Scan With [Your Anti-Virus Software] before you open it. If you receive a suspicious-looking email attachment from someone you know, you could email that person to ask if she did intend to send it to you. It could be that a virus on her computer has forwarded itself to people in her address book, in which case she would probably like to be notified.

Use a Secure Internet Browser
Browsers like the latest versions of Firefox or Internet Explorer provide much of the protection you need. In Windows 7, the protected mode in Internet Explorer that denies any software running in the browser access to the rest of the operating system is an extra bonus.

Get Spam and Phishing Filtering for Your Email Software
Everyone knows what spam is. Phishing emails, however, are the messages that purport to be from a real bank or credit card company asking you to type your personal details into a website. I’ve seen some of the most net-savvy people caught out like this.

Never Click Anything You Don’t Explicitly Mean To

If you haven’t gone to a website with the express intention of clicking items, maybe to install a browser plug-in or get a specific download, for instance, never click anything unless you know exactly what it is. Beware of reputable websites, such as YouTube, where viruses are occasionally posted disguised as a codec that is required to play a video. If you are ever in doubt, simply don’t click it!

Look for the Padlock or the Green Bar

When shopping online or when visiting any website that requires you to enter personal information, look for the padlock, which is a visual method for your browser to tell you that the website is encrypting any data sent back and forth using a valid security certificate.

Tips That Help You To Keep Your Computer And Data Secured And Safe 1

What browser you use will determine where this is located. The latest security convention in browsers is to color code the address bar. The address bar is displayed as green if the site is okay and orange or red if you should use caution or avoid the site.

Green Padlock - bench3

Not all web browsers will use colored address bars, and they may display the padlock in different ways and in different areas of the browser. You should refer to the Help menu for your specific browser for more advice on this. Never Give Private Details Online Unless You Have To Shopping for a credit card or car insurance is one thing, but many websites will unnecessarily ask for personal details that too many people are all too willing to give away. At best, these details are used to send you spam; at worst, they are used to steal your identity.

Keep Backups

Make sure you keep regular backups of your data somewhere away from your Windows installation, maybe on an external USB hard drive, for instance. Windows has a built-in backup utility (which is much improved in Windows 7), but third-party packages offer backup solutions, too.

Keep the Driver CDs and Manuals for Your PC

Always safeguard the discs and manuals that come with your PC. These will prove invaluable if Windows ever needs to be reinstalled. Make sure you keep them somewhere safe and together.

Keep Windows Maintained

You will have much more fun on your PC if you keep it tidy and maintained. Make sure you uninstall programs you don’t need, use the built-in tools or third-party tools to remove unnecessary files, and keep the registry clean.

Be Careful When You Throw Away Your PC

When your PC comes to the end of its useful life, make sure you download a utility that will securely erase the hard disk by overwriting the data several times. If you can, also remove the erased hard disk and dispose of it separately. Discarded PCs can contain a wealth of sensitive information that makes them a bargain find for identity thieves.

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About bench3 -

Haja Peer Mohamed H, Software Engineer by profession, Author, Founder and CEO of "bench3" you can connect with me on Twitter , Facebook and also onGoogle+

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