In today's increasingly digital world, safeguarding your important
data is critical. The threats to computer systems are increasing in
both numbers and complexity at an alarming rate. Imagine losing your
personal financial data or perhaps years of digital pictures because
you became infected with the latest worm spreading over the internet.
It's not only the threats from the outside, but also internal system
failures that can threaten your important data.
Practice Safe Online
Only share your primary
e-mail address with people you know. Avoid listing your e-mail address
in large Internet directories and job-posting Web sites, and be careful
when you join online user groups. Don't open attachments in e-mail
or instant messages unless you're sure what they are and who they're
from. Use caution when dealing with suspicious e-mail.
A Hardware Firewall
As more and more homes are connected to broadband internet, a hardware
firewall is your first line of defense. With prices dropping there
is little reason to not purchase one. Also, enable the Windows firewall
if you don't have a 3rd party solution.
Updates and Patches
Keeping your system up to date or patched is a critical measure to
ensure security. Nearly everyday there are new exploits or "holes"
discovered that leave your systems vulnerable until these updates
are installed. It's always recommended to turn on automatic updates
from Microsoft and install
them when they become available. Also don't forget to patch Microsoft
Office if you use that software as well.
These days you need to protect
yourself on both fronts. Without getting into the differences between
spyware or malware and viruses or worms, they cannot be ignored anymore.
There are free utilities for home users to scan for and remove spyware.
Personal - Microsoft
Windows Defender and Spybot
Search and Destroy are excellent free tools we recommend everyone
install and run periodically. AVG
offers a free version of Anti-virus software for personal use.