How To Secure A Computer – Secure A PC Online

Do you need to know how to secure a computer? Here we’ll cover 10 effective ways to secure a computer 100% while online connected to the internet (learn how to secure a pc with easy-to-do steps).

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Software and Security: General Rule of Thumb:

It is critically important that you *always* keep your software up to date: this refers to MS Windows (the Operating System), your firewall, anti-virus, and anti-spyware / anti-malware programs. If you do not update your system regularly, your computer is immediately vulnerable to Spyware, Viruses, and Hackers. Note that your computer can be attacked by simply visiting a malicious web page, clicking a browser link, or even if it’s sitting idle while connected to the Internet. If there is an open door, someone — or something — just may find its way through.

How To Secure A Computer & Secure A PC Online

1. Get Rid of Outdated Operating Systems

If you are still using older versions of MS Windows, it’s time to upgrade!

Windows XP and Windows Vista/7 are currently the most secure Windows Operating Systems available; all previous versions of MS Windows are no longer supported or updated by Microsoft: what this means is that even if a security issue with an older version of Windows, Microsoft will not fix it — you are on your own.

If you are still using Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000 or NT, it is recommended that you upgrade to the latest Windows operating system to keep your computer safe from online attacks.

How To Secure A Computer & Secure A PC Online

2. Alternatives to MS Windows

For older computers that cannot run XP or Vista, we highly recommend Puppy Linux or Ubuntu Linux Operating Systems. While these OS’s are not Microsoft Windows-based, they operate in similar manner, are completely free, and best of all: they are updated regularly.

Puppy Linux is extremely compact and especially excellent for older, slower computer systems. On the other hand, Ubuntu offers more features and is easiest to migrate from Windows.

http://www.puppylinux.org/

http://www.ubuntu.com/

Both Ubuntu and Puppy Linux offer something called a “Live CD”. A Live D can be downloaded and recorded onto CD recordable; it contains a contains a bootable, working copy of the Operating System that can run without installing it to your system — so you can test the OS and use it before you decide to install it.

How To Secure A Computer & Secure A PC Online

3. Update your Operating SystemS (OS)

All Operating Systems — whether they are Mac, Windows, or Linux — need continual updating.

In terms of Windows PCs: Microsoft releases software updates (called “Windows Updates”) which fix security issues within Windows. Some security issues are critical, while others are simple bug fixes.

To update Windows, click: http://update.microsoft.com

You can also configure Windows to download updates automatically.

See: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/downloads/windowsupdate/automaticupdate.mspx

How To Secure A Computer & Secure A PC Online

4. Install a Firewall

A firewall is an extra layer of security used to protect your computer from the outside world. A firewall can help (but not eliminate) attacks against hackers, viruses, and even spyware. Essentially, a firewall is used to limit / block / monitor the number of open communication ports on your computer.

Just like any software program (including the Operating System itself), a firewall must be kept up to date to ensure it is protected against exploits — so always install a firewall update if and when it becomes available.

Windows XP has a firewall built into the Operating System.

To turn it on: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/283673

How To Secure A Computer & Secure A PC Online

5. Use a Router For Broadband / High Speed Internet

A router is a hardware device that allows you to share Internet with other computers within your network. A router can also hide your computer (IP address) from the outside world, making it difficult for hackers to probe / gain access to your machine. If you own a high speed Internet connection, it is highly recommended that you use a router to connect to the Internet.

How To Secure A Computer & Secure A PC Online

6. Use Anti-virus Software

Anti-virus software scans your computer for viruses; most antivirus software can also be configured to check incoming and outgoing email for viruses. As with any program, you need to keep your anti-virus software up to date — so make sure it is set to automatically download and install updates.

How To Secure A Computer & Secure A PC Online

7. Use Anti-spyware Software

Spyware is defined as “[often stealthy] computer software that is installed surreptitiously on a personal computer to intercept or take partial control over the user’s interaction with the computer, without the user’s informed consent.” (Source: wikipedia.org).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spyware

Spyware is commonly bundled with ‘free’ software downloads, attached to e-mails, or transmitted through networks (including the Internet), and often appears as legitimate software. Spyware is stealthy by nature; once installed, Spyware can be nearly impossible to detect and remove without the help of a dedicated Spyware removal program.

In most cases a firewall and anti-virus software will not prevent spyware.

Anti-spyware Tips

  • Be cautious of programs you download and install.
  • Never download a program from a unknown source.
  • Use antispyware programs to keep your computer clean of spyware.
  • Only download antispyware programs from a reputable source.

There are many antispyware scams online the Internet (known as “rogue antispyware”) that dupe users into purchasing their product — so be careful which antispyware program you download.

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How To Secure A Computer & Secure A PC Online

8. Secure your Wireless Network

If you have a Wi-Fi (wireless) network, check the instructions that came with your router and do the following ensure that you have WPA or WEP encryption enabled: this prevents unauthorized users from accessing your network.

How To Secure A Computer & Secure A PC Online

9. Avoid Reading or Clicking on Unsolicited “Spam” Email

By simply opening an unsolicited email, spammers can validate your email address. Once they know your email is valid, they will continue to send bulk, unsolicited emails. To avoid spam, we recommend using a WhiteList service offered by 0-Spam.net:

” 0Spam works with POP3 email, Hotmail, Yahoo, and Gmail accounts … 0Spam is simply an external service that [operates silently -- much like a telephone long distance company] or Internet Service provider … it works by standing in-between your email server(s) and the Internet, and scans your incoming email for spam and viruses … what’s left is just pure, legitimate email. “

How To Secure A Computer & Secure A PC Online

10. Make Backups

Always make regular backups of important data — including your operating system — and store it in a safe place.

Note that not all backup programs are the same!

“Regular” file backup programs are fantastic for backing up personal files such as downloads, documents, emails, pictures, bookmarks, and the like. The idea behind backing up a file is that you’ll have a duplicate copy in case something goes awry.

That being said, regular file backup is not capable of backing up the Operating System (Windows). In other words: if your hard drive crashed or if Windows suddenly became inoperable — due to a virus or Spyware attack — you wouldn’t be able to get back into your computer. The only way to get back around this problem might be to:

* format [erase] the hard drive * reinstall Windows and download all the updates * reinstall all your programs * reinstall the backup software * restore your data that you backed up previously

In all, that might take 6 to 8 hours to complete (at best) — not fun.

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