Computer safety is something that almost everyone is concerned about because of the amazing popularity and convenience of owning a computer. Of course there are some households that do not have computers, but it is safe to say that households like these are in the minority. If you have a computer, there are some safety tips that you need to know about.
Firewall — A firewall is a protective program that you install on your computer. Firewall programs can be downloaded for free from a number of reputable sites. A firewall protects your computer from intruders by blocking outside access to your files and by creating a protective barrier to your vital documents and information. Firewalls should be updated regularly in order to protect against the latest hacker technique for breaking into your computer system.
Anti-virus (software and safe practices) — Anti-virus software goes hand in hand with a firewall in that it too can be easily downloaded and regularly updated to keep your computer protected. Anti-virus software recognizes and rejects viruses that hackers use as an entry point to gain access to your computer. You can add to your anti-virus protection by making sure never to download files from people that you are not familiar with.
Secure sites — A secure site is a site that has taken the time and effort to make sure that those who visit the site remain protected from intruders. A protected or secure site will have a web address that begins with a “https” and it will have a closed padlock in the browser window. These two signs are reliable indicators that financial transactions and the sharing of personal information while on this site should be protected. Obviously you will be taking a risk if you decide to do business with a site that is not secure.
Protect personal information — It is always best to protect your personal information by being very cautious about where and if you store it on your computer and what websites you trust to protect your information. Personal information that you should keep guarded includes banking information, passwords, contact information, financial/credit card information, etc.
Don’t trust people you don’t know — One of the disadvantages to the world wide web is that predators and thieves use it to manipulate people into giving these thieves what they want. Predators are cunning and skilled at saying the right things to make you feel like you can trust them. Children are especially vulnerable because of their naturally trusting nature. Always remember that people aren’t always who they say they are. Unless you have actually met the person who you are communicating with online, there is no way to know for absolute sure who is being truthful and who is being deceptive.
Don’t give info through e-mail, chat or instant messages — E-mail, chat rooms, and instant messages are often the most dangerous mediums for the transfer of information because these methods are significantly less secure than other methods. You may be familiar with the recent scams that hackers are using to get your banking information by posing as the bank and asking for you to e-mail your information to them. A bank with online access is never going to ask you to send them an e-mail with such valuable information in it because they know the risks of sending information via e-mail. Don’t fall for a trick like this and make sure that you use caution not only in what type of information you release but also in the method that it is released.
Remember that no matter how little you use your computer, there are things that you should be doing to ensure that it remains secure. If you have an Internet connection than your reasons for needing to do all that you can for the safety of your computer is even more important.