10 Top Safety Computer Tips

August 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

Your computer holds some of your most important—and private—information, so we’ve written down the 10 top safety computer tips that help you keep your computer and your information safe. Some tips are very common but are often over looked.

The easiest way for hackers to install malware (bad programs) on your computer is by convincing you to install them yourself. most malware on the Web hides as small but useful-sounding programs. For example, new screen savers, new chat applications, and minor desktop improvements.

The software you thought you were installing quietly installs a few extra programs you didn’t ask for. Some of these programs display ads, some of them report details about your computer to hackers, some of them may even open ports—short for portals—that allow hackers to access your computer.

It’s hard to tell which software is legitimate and which software is genuinely useful, but if you have any doubt about a program, it’s best left uninstalled.

Is there something goofy about your computer? is it running slow? Are you getting strange error messages? is your ISP complaining that you’re sending too many emails?

All of these problems need to be investigated. Viruses often use your computer processing power for evil, making your computer run slow. Viruses often try to hide among other programs, causing strange error messages. Viruses often send spam emails, making your ISP complain.

If you see a problem, start investigating it and don’t stop until you figure out what the problem was. Otherwise you risk letting a small virus install bigger, worse viruses.

In a household or office where many people share computers, everyone is at the mercy of everyone else. No matter how safe you try to keep your computer, anyone else with administrator access can install a virus-infected program.

In these multi-user environments, it pays to restrict administrator access to only the users who know how to keep the computer safe. in fact, I suggest you create just one administrator account for each computer and then give every user their own non-administrator account.

Only when you need to install a program or change a setting should you use the administrator account. For everything else, you should use your own user account. This helps avoid the situation where you accidentally leave your administrator account logged in and the next person on the computer uses it to accidentally download a virus.

Even if you work really hard at avoiding viruses and other malware, you should prepare yourself for the chance that one will make it onto your computer any way. Backups protect your files from being deleted, but what protects your sensitive files from hackers?

The only thing that can protect your sensitive files is encryption. Higher-end versions of Windows include encryption, but you can also download a free encryption utility that provides just as much security (if not more—Microsoft is under pressure by some governments to put a “back door” into their encryption.)

To secure your files against hackers and other prying eyes, I suggest the free TrueCrypt encryption software.

There’s a big difference between good and bad anti-virus software, but the same isn’t true of firewall software. even the free firewall that comes with all recent versions of Windows will fully protect your computer against automatic network virus attacks. Just make sure you turn it on in the control panel.

If your anti-virus software comes with a firewall, I suggest you use that instead—not because it’s better, but because it will probably be easier for you to use.  And keeping things simple is its own safety computer tips.

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