Most of us use a PC these days, but how many of us are serious about protecting it? Well, not most of us! They just have to do their job sitting at the PC and then look no further. But they get into big trouble when their PC crashes, files get corrupted, login information is stolen, or attacked by viruses and malware. We now know that “prevention is better than cure” and “self-help is the best help”. So, following the lines of these famous proverbs, I will try to highlight some tips through which a novice user could secure their PC. This article also applies to advanced and experienced users. So read on and help yourself avoid your PC security problems.

1. Use an antivirus

In the age of high-speed internet and portable media, you can’t afford to compromise your PC and precious data. Hence, antivirus software is a must for every PC user. The antivirus stays active in system memory and monitors file transfers, network/internet connections and programs for suspicious activity and prevents harmful computer viruses, worms and trojans from wreaking havoc on your PC. It can even clean, repair or quarantine affected files already on your PC and keep your data safe.

There are many antivirus packages available, many of which are free.

Some of the free packages are:

A. AVG Free Edition: http://www.free.grisoft.com

B. Avast! Home Edition: http://www.avast.com

C. Antivir Personal Edition: http://www.free-av.com

2. Use a firewall

To protect your PC with network / internet connection from the prying eyes of hackers and malicious people, you need to install a Firewall software. A firewall is simply software that sits between your PC and the outside world (network/www) and allows certain programs/data to pass through it, thus filtering traffic based on configured rules.

Like antivirus software, the list of firewall software is long… and there are plenty of free options available.

Some of the free packages are:

A. Free ZoneAlarm: http://www.zonelabs.com

B. Kerio Personal: http://www.kerio.com

C. Free Outpost: http://www.agnitum.com

D. Sygate Personal: http://www.sygate.com

3. Use an AntiSpyware/Adware

Every day that passes gives birth to about twenty new malware, i.e. any type of program written exclusively to install itself on the victim’s PC without their knowledge, monitor their activities/logins and send them to a hacker for identity theft. Likewise there are adware that deliver unwanted advertisements and spoof/redirect browser addresses. So, you never know that the form you filled out 10 minutes ago isn’t from the original site! To protect your PC from these annoying parasites, you need an Anti-Spyware/Adware package.

Some of the free packages are:

A. Spybot S&D: http://www.safer-networking.org

B. Adaware: http://www.lavasoft.com

C. MS Antispyware: http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/software/default.mspx

4. Backup often

It’s really important to back up your valuable data often so that you can have a copy of it on hand in case of a system crash, virus attack or hack. Keep only important files and folders as a backup and not the entire drive! The habit of backing up never fazes you in the long run. It’s a good idea to back up your data to a different hard drive or cheap, removable media such as CDs, DVDs, and thumb drives, just to name a few. There are many free and paid software to choose from.

5. Follow some good habits

A. Never give your password/login information to anyone.

B. Do not disclose your credit card number or online banking login information to anyone.

C. Use a complex password that is difficult to guess; containing alphabets, numbers and special characters.

D. Password protect or encrypt confidential and valuable information to prevent misuse by anyone.

And. Always set a password for operating system/BIOS access.

F. Do not open suspicious email attachments or knowingly send an infected file to someone.

G. Do not mount media affected by a known virus on a PC without virus protection.

H. Do not respond to emails requesting confidential login information even if they appear to be from the company or website. This could be a phishing attempt.

I. Don’t respond to spam messages or scam emails like “You won $10 million in the lottery!”. If you respond to spam emails, spammers learn about your activity and send you even more spam. Just ignore them and keep your spam filter turned on.

J. Do not post your email id on the internet (for example in forums)…spam bots may pick it up. Use myid[at]provider.com format.

To conclude, I would like to say that the steps that have been outlined above are not too difficult or time consuming to follow. You would certainly benefit from using such precautions and measures to protect your computer. Remember, if you protect your PC, you not only help yourself, but many other users as well. So spread the word and start acting now…Good luck!

By skadmin

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