They're so easy and habit-forming you'll want to share them with
your friends, family and neighbors.
Of course, we're talking about stay-safe security tips that will
help protect you -- and your computer -- from thieves hunting your
money and personal information.
Luckily, you don't have to be an IT professional to follow these
|Computer security doesn't have to
be an inconvenient chore. It's all about making everything
automatic or easy to remember daily. Learn how to protect
yourself online with these simple tips.
|10 ways to guard
1. Regard all
unsolicited calls, e-mails and instant messages from strangers as
spam, especially if money or personal information is requested.
If you receive a message that appears to come from your bank or
company with which you have an account, call the company directly
to verify the message. Do not respond to any communication you did
2. Don't follow
links in suspicious e-mails. Even if you can recognize a
phishing site, malware could sneak onto your computer while you're
looking at the malicious page.
3. Make sure
you have a comprehensive Internet security suite installed on your
computer. The software should include a firewall and protect
you against viruses, Trojans, phishing sites, spam, adware and spyware.
Some packages include instant messaging protection and guard against
rootkits, a stealth technology that can hide the existence of malware
from security scans. Look for products that allow automatic updates
and that write new threat definitions frequently.
4. Run updates
before you go online each day. That way your computer is
protected from the latest threats.
5. Scan your
computer daily with your anti-virus software. "A scan
is something that should run every day," says David Marcus,
security research and communications manager for McAfee Avert Labs.
Schedule the scan when you're not doing anything on the computer,
that way it won't interrupt you.
your instant messenger client to block messages from anyone not
on your buddy list. That should eliminate spam from strangers.
You can reopen communication lines when you need to speak with a
7. Don't download
software from a Web 2.0 site. You never know if you are downloading
something malicious. If you need an updated version of a media player
to watch a video clip, go directly to the official Macromedia's
Web site and download updates from there.
8. Scan files
sent over instant messenger and anything you download from the Web
with your anti-virus software. Learn
9. Don't rely
on toolbars as sole protection against malicious sites. Toolbars
might not detect recently placed malware on Web 2.0 sites previously
deemed safe, for instance. They're not infallible. You'll still
need up-to-date Internet security software and you'll need to watch
where you navigate.
10. Two is not
better than one. Don't run two software programs that perform
the same operation. For example, two spyware-destroying programs.
"It's a no-no," says David Perry, public education director
for Trend Micro. The two programs can work against each other.
Update, update, update
Remember that one of the biggest things you can do is keep all your
software up to date. That means not just your operating system and
anti-virus software, but also your multimedia applications. Don't
ignore alerts informing you of available updates. They could contain
critical patches for security vulnerabilities.
"In real estate, it's location, location, location,"
says Ronald O'Brien, senior security analyst with Sophos Plc. "In
the IT world, it's update, update, update."