Online computer security is critical right from the moment you switch on your brand new computer. Here are 7 Simple Steps to Online Computer Security (Information Security online).
1. Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software.
Install Anti-virus and Anti-spyware software on your computer before you start surfing the first time. The difference between a computer virus and spyware is that – a virus is a malicious piece of computer code that can be implanted on any computer and it can result in destruction of the file systems of your computer and can be transferred from one computer to another and spread like the biological virus. A spyware is a program that collects information about you without your knowledge or consent. A spyware does not spread like a virus.
2. Keep your computer firewall ON all the time
Most anti-virus soft wares come with a firewall. If the operating system that you are using is Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) or Macintosh OS X, then it has an in-built firewall. Usually, the firewall is off when the computer is shipped to you, so make you read instructions on how to turn on the firewall. A firewall prevents direct communication between your computer and another computer (a hacker’s computer).
3. Turn on the automatic software updates feature
Turn on the automatic updates feature of your anti-virus, anti-spyware, OS, and firewall on and stay current. This is a good online computer security measure. It is important that you have the most current protection. Hackers search on the internet for computers that are either unprotected or don’t have the latest protection features. Hackers can hack into your computer and install software on your computer. This will enable them to steal login details of your online bank accounts, other membership sites like Ebay, Paypal etc. and also send Spam emails that appear to originate from your computer. Sending Spam emails that appear to originate from your email address can result in your account being revoked!
4. Store your computer information safely
Storing your computer information safely can help the technician who is fixing/ restoring your computer. For example, on Windows, Click Start and then choose Run. This will bring up small window wherein you need to type ‘msinfo32’ without the quotes. This will bring up a system window. On this widow, choose the file menu and then Export. Export your system information on to a CD. Similarly, for other operating systems, search on Google.com for information on storing the system information on a CD.
5. Backup important files
It is important to back up important files. Determine what you would do to restore your computer if it has been attacked. Pretend that your computer file system has been corrupted and then what steps would you take to restore. You will realize that having a backup can make things easy for you.
6. Use strong password authentication
When you signup for an online membership like online bank, , Paypal, Ebay etc., do not use weak passwords that can make it easy for people who know you or have your some information about, easy to hack. Using your significant other’s name, child’s name, pet’s name etc. are weak. Use something stronger like first letters of the address of the house where you were born concatenated to your birth year or something along those lines. It is best if the password is NOT some meaningful word!
7. Protect your personal information
If you are asked to give out personal information like phone number, address, SSN, identification numbers etc. on the internet, use more caution. Find out exactly why and how they will be used. If there is a link in your email that asks you to login by clicking on the link, then don’t! Usually genuine emails don’t ask you to login directly by clicking a link in the email. If you want to login to your membership accounts, always open a new browser and then type the URL of the website (to login to Paypal account, type paypal.com on the new browser instead of clicking on the link from an email that is asking you to login.).
If you are giving out credit card information, then the page that accepts credit card information must have secure encryption. The URL usually begins with https instead of the regular http. If you right click and select properties, the Connection section should read something like 128 bit encryption (High) and also must have 1024 bit exchange.
Following these 7 steps to online computer security can protect you and your computer from online attacks. Be sure to visit computer security groups in Yahoo (groups.yahoo.com) and Google (groups.google.com) for some free online computer security information.