Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Keeping Your Computer Safe–Overview

I have written a few posts about cleaning up malicious software (viruses), but of course not getting the malicious software in the first place would be even better!
There are two main layers of “software” protection, a firewall and antivirus software.  The first layer of protection for a users computer should be the firewall.  A firewall simply blocks malicious or unauthorized access to and from the computer.  Preferably you want a two way firewall that blocks both incoming and outgoing.  Windows XP, Vista, and 7 all have built in firewalls that are sufficient for most users and capable of blocking of both income and outgoing.  Of course making sure the firewall is actually  on is really important!
The second important piece of protection software should be the anti-virus program.  Windows does not come with any pre-installed anti-virus protection, other than Windows Defender, which technically is not an anti-virus program!  It is important that you have an anti-virus program that actively monitors the computers with real-time protection and has up-to-date virus definitions.
In addition to “protection” software it is important that the software you are using is up-to-date.  For the Windows Operating system, make sure you have Windows Update on and it is a good idea to manually check every now and then.  Other programs such as Adobe PDF, Adobe Flash, Sun Java, QuickTime, ect. should all be updated as well.
A few more things to note as well; spam email is dangerous, delete it, especially be wary of any attachments!  Be careful browsing the web!  Keep browser settings to default, this goes for any browser. It is also a good idea to remove any unneeded software programs, as they can be an entry point for malicious software.  Also remember malicious software usually requires some form of interaction on your part to be installed!

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