We all know the rule of thumb around emails: don’t open them unless you know the source. Unfortunately today that is not enough to keep your computer secure. There are many different types of people out there trying to infiltrate your computer. We need to stack the odds in your favour by following a few simple, not too expensive suggestions.
1) Make sure you have a router. It used to be that people would only have a router because they wanted to have multiple computers attached to their internet connection. While that is still a great benefit to having a router, especially a wireless router now that we all have laptops and Ipads, I recommend that even people with 1 computer get a router.
Why? Because it is probably the single most effective way to keep your computer secure, and it is the first line of defence. A router acts as a traffic cop on your network. It allows only the data that you request from the internet to flow into your network, and rejects any “unsolicited traffic”. It’s as if you have a security guard standing outside your house that only lets in people with an invitation. This prevents random attacks and malware that gets into your computer while you surf.
2) Antivirus Software – Make sure you have it and make sure it is current. I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten a call from someone that they think they have a virus. When I get on the computer the first thing I check is the expiry date on the Antivirus program. Sure enough it is last April! Just renew it online. All programs have an online renewal option it will take 5 minutes. Having no Antivirus on the internet is like driving without a seatbelt. Eventually it’s gonna cost you.
3) Keep your Windows up to date – On every version of Windows there is a quick and painless way to make sure you keep your computer up to date and secure. Windows updates are necessary because the bad guys are continuously finding new ways to make life miserable for the rest of us. Fortunately Microsoft takes security seriously and is constantly trying to stay one step ahead of the bad guys. They release patches or fixes for the holes and vulnerabilities that are discovered all the time.
All you have to do is this: On Windows XP, go to Start Menu>All Programs, then all the way at the top of the menu you will see either “Windows Update” or “Microsoft Update”. Click on that then when the page loads, click “Express”. On Windows Vista or 7 it is even easier. Go into the Control Panel and lick on “Windows Update”
4) Check periodically for Spyware – Even though you diligently follow numbers 1,2, and 3 you are going to get a few nasty critters on your computer from time to time. It is unavoidable these days and happens to the best of us. That is why you need to use a program that focuses on spyware and malware (these are both interchangeable general terms).
If you follow these tips, along with a few common sense ideas such as not opening unsolicited mail and being careful what you download and install from the internet, you should be good to go. I hope you find this information helpful.
If you are looking for help to keep your computer secure, please CALL US. We are available to help with your computer and network security needs in Mississauga, Oakville, Brampton, Georgetown, Guelph, Milton and surrounding areas.