Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ten Ways to Protect And Safeguard Your PC

Since the use of computers has become an integrated part of our lives, information security has become a greater challenge; here are the Ten Commandments to protect and safeguard your PC:

  • Keep your operating system updated (install patches and service packs). If you are using Microsoft Windows turn ON Automatic Update.
  • Keep your third party applications updated especially your web browsers. New web browser exploits are discovered regularly and can severely impact your PC. 

 2- Use an Antivirus / Anti-Spy / Anti-Adware
  • There are many good and free anti-malware applications that are free and can be downloaded and installed easily. I personally use AVG (free and effective)
  • Usage of anti-spy and anti-adware application will help you preserve your identity and privacy while using the internet. I personally use two: Spybot Search and destroy, and Lavasoft Ad Aware.
  • Keep your antivirus definitions updated or else you will be vulnerable to multiple types of threats that your current antivirus cannot detect.
  • Full scan your PC periodically.
  • Don’t panic: sometimes anti-spy-adware applications generate false positive alerts where for example some legitimate browser cookies are flagged as adware and scheduled for deletion.

 3- Use Windows firewall 
  • Although many professionals consider Windows firewall to be dumb and bypass-able, there is no reason why you shouldn’t utilize this extra free, built-in feature in your windows (Available on all Windows versions from XP and up)
  • Use third Party firewall to increase your defense against internet attacks, I personally use:  Zonealram

 4- Turn on the popup blocker
  • Pop-ups are usually used for advertising purposes they appear to grab your attention and redirect you from one website to their own. But not all pop-ups are used for advertising purposes; others are planted with malicious intent. Some use these programs to distribute adware, spyware and more dangerous types of malware (Trojans and even Rootkits)
  • Recent Browsers give you the ability of blocking Pop-ups, and the option of choosing which sites are allowed to pass pop-ups
 5- Suspicious Mails are not to be Opened 
  • Never open emails that look or feel suspicious to you or not known to you, Use the “Mark as Phishing – Scam – Spam- Junk” option that most email providers utilize.
  • Some malicious Emails contain links that direct users to malicious websites that aim to harvest usernames and passwords of social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter or financial websites.
  • Never communicate your confidential data via email. Confidential data includes but not limited to usernames, passwords, addresses, telephone numbers, and social security number. Note that: Legitimate companies will never ask you to share your credentials via email.

  6- Caution When downloading Software
  • Exercise extreme caution when downloading applications and software from the internet because these applications could carry different types of malware.
  • Cracks and serial number generators are hosts to many kinds of malicious codes that most of the times can’t be detected by antivirus applications.

7- Usage of USB and External Storage Devices 
  • Transferring data from one PC to another using an external storage media without the proper information security measures could lead to virus infections, data loss and data theft.
  • Disable auto run functionality in windows, although most antivirus software perform an activity monitor over files trying to slip into your pc from an external storage, but mistakes do happen.
  • Always scan the USB memory sticks, mp3 players, iPods, and Mobile phones memory cards before browsing its content. Always: better safe than sorry.
  • Don’t compromise your data; don’t use your semi full 500 GB External Hard Disk that contains “Your Lifetime Data Backup” as a transfer media to copy small files less than 8 GB from one PC to another. Get a memory card for this task – 8 GB sticks are currently cheap easy to handle, easy to carry and protect.

 8- Back-up Data
  • Perform periodical backup of your data, and please taking a copy of your “important files” To your D: drive (which is the same primary drive, but another partition) is not considered backup.
    Backup should be done on an External media such as USB drive or Hard Disk; I personally keep two backup copies on two different media storages. 

9- System Restore – Time Machine
  • Use Windows System Restore to create restore point before doing any major change to your operating system. If something goes wrong you can use this option to restore windows to a previous saved point.
  • Similar to System Restore on Windows, time machine works on OS-X. Backup is done seamlessly provided the designated drive is connected. And restore option allows users to restore from multiple points simultaneously.

10- Password Protection
  • Passwords are unique strings of characters that users provide in conjunction with a User ID, to gain access to an information resource.
  • Passwords should be at least eight characters long including upper and lower case letters along with digits and punctuation characters.
  • Should not be a word in any language
  • You shouldn’t reveal your password in an email message.
  • You shouldn’t talk about or HINT the format of your password in front of others.

 It is not hard to protect and safeguard your Data and PC, you just have to exercise some attention, and run the extra mile

No comments:

Post a Comment