They say the safest computer is one switched off and left in its box. Possibly with insurance on the box, in case it’s stolen.
The needs of staying in touch and online, however, mean we have to be more practical in our approach.
Firstly, we can all do our bit to make things safer, because PC security is about what you do as much as the software you have to help you do it. For example: being sensible on who we give our details to, and never, ever sharing our login details with someone else. PC security is all about staying on top of our online (and even offline) activities; it’s not a “do once and forget” solution, it’s continual and at times relentless.
So here’s our suggestion on how to play it safe online and offline with your computer, with this simple list (please excuse the shameless plugs for our software interspersed throughout):
- Always have antivirus software, and always keep it up-to-date. This includes running a full scan at least once per week (with on-access scanning taking care of the rest). [Plug one: our antivirus product VIRUSfighter can do this]
- If your antivirus software does not include antispyware protection, use this as well. [Shameless plug number 2 for our anti-spyware product SPYWAREfighter]
- Configure and use a firewall product.
- Be careful where you surf. Visiting unknown sites is part of everyday, as you follow links on twitter, facebook, and on your favourite sites. But click with caution. If you’re using a twitter client, make sure it expands those bit.ly links for you, so you can see where you are about to go. Be particularly careful if you are visiting adult or so-called warez sites. Be especially careful if you are downloading “cracked” software. This is often a ruse to get you to click on the installer and you will then be installing malware.
- Consider if you NEED to be logged in with administrative rights. Often you don’t.
- Be especially careful of clicking on links in emails from people you don’t know (and you’re running anti-spam software, right?) [Shameless plug for our anti-spam product SPAMfighter]
- Be careful of inserting USB devices and DVDs of unknown origin into your computer. Also uninstall software you don’t need any more. [Final plug for our speed / healthy PC product SLOWPCfighter to help keep your computer running in top condition]
- Use common sense – if the offer to click a link for something sounds too good to be true, it is.
- Remember, banks won’t usually send you “Suspicious activity on your account” emails, and then ask you to sign in to your account to “confirm” something. They’d usually call you.
- Use hard-to-crack passwords, both on your computer, and on your online accounts.
These are just some of the things you should consider to make your online and offline experience danger free.
Think we’ve missed any, tell us in the comments.