Good computer security is all about good passwords, antivirus, physical security, updates, and backups.
- Use strong passwords– Passwords are the keys to opening your computer. If your password is compromised, someone else may be able to access your account and pretend to be you. Do not uses birthdates, phone numbers, pet or school names, sports teams or mascots, hobby terms, addresses (current or pass), “password”, “123456”, or any such things, because they can be guessed from your information on social media or simple testing. Protect your account with passwords that cannot easily be guessed (see Choosing and Selecting Passwords for more information).
- Use and maintain anti-virus software– Viruses are software that have the goal of destroying or stealing your most sensitive information. They are turned loose on the Internet to indiscriminately attack any unprotected computer. Anti-virus software protects your computer against known viruses. Ensure automatic updates are enabled.
- Keep software up to date– Over 6,000 vulnerabilities are found every year in commercial software and these are used by predators and cybercriminals to get your sensitive information. Install software updates when received, because they frequently patch security vulnerabilities. Some system offer automatic updates, use enable them.
- Backup your critical information– Many cyber attacks (virus or Ransomware), theft, fire, water, power surges, or component (hard drives or memory) failures results the loss of some or all of your information. With a weekly or monthly backup on a memory stick or external hard drive device that is keep in a secure location, the above information losses will be keep to a minimum.
What to do if your computer has been infected?
If you think your computer has been infected you can use the following free tools to scan your computer and remove malware.
- F-Secure – https://www.f-secure.com/en/web/home_global/online-scanner
- McAfee – http://www.mcafee.com/uk/downloads/free-tools/stinger.aspx
- Microsoft – http://www.microsoft.com/security/scanner/en-us/default.aspx
- Sophos – https://www.sophos.com/en-us/products/free-tools/virus-removal-tool.aspx
- Trend Micro http://housecall.trendmicro.com/
If you are intending to sell your computer the please ensure you have taken the following precautions:
- To protect your confidential data on any device if selling it on, it must be fully wiped, not just the standard quick “format” option. With laptops and other mobile devices this can usually be achieved by selecting the “Restore to Factory Defaults” option.
- If you are selling a smartphone, also erase and format the SD card if included in the sale.
- Even if you are not selling your laptop, you should encrypt your data to protect it from being retrieved if the device is lost. Ensure you use Full Disk Encryption.
- If you have to store financial data on a laptop, password-protect the file for added security.
- Use password protection, authentication, PINs and pattern locks.
- Users should change all their passwords when they start using a new device.
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