Your Computer Security Checklist: Do This Daily!
Stay safe on the Internet with this little Daily Checklist. Paste it up on the wall beside your computer, and follow it every day. It is guaranteed to save you a lot of frustration and grief!
Always practice safe surfing! Here is a computer checklist to help keep you safe online. Print it out and stick it on the wall beside your computer. To begin with, I assume you have an anti-virus program, a firewall and 2 anti-spyware programs, at least.
Why 2 anti-spyware applications? Often one program will find what the other misses. You should also have a filter/blocker program, that keeps this stuff out of your computer in the first place.
Daily: 1. As soon as you turn on your computer for the day, and before you start surfing the Internet, update your anti-virus program, or check that it updates itself automatically.
2. When you have finished surfing for the day, or after installing new software, run one of your anti-spyware programs. The next day, run the other one. Alternate them, to catch all possible malware.
3. Carefully and fully read every End User License Agreement (EULA). If you see something like - The vendor/publisher may install third party software - hit the delete button (hard!) or cancel the download. Or at least run all your security scans after installation.
Weekly: 1. Once a week, update your anti-spyware programs, as well as Windows. If you have kids who surf the Net and play games online, do it more often.
2. Watch for updates to your firewall and HOSTS file (see below). These are infrequent, so check your email, or check in the programs to see if they are up to date.
3. Get a custom HOSTS file. Go to your favorite search engine to find one. Take the time to read and understand what it is and does. If you have never used one before, it may seem complicated at first. It really is not.
Viruses have gotten so sophisticated lately that they can use the HOSTS file to prevent your anti-virus software from updating itself. To avoid this, about once a month you should open your HOSTS file, and check to make sure your anti-virus program is NOT listed there.
If it is, your computer could be infected with a virus. Delete that line in the HOSTS file, and run all your security scans immediately.
Do not open unsolicited email or unexpected attachments, avoid phishing scams and public computers, try not to download anything from the web, change your passwords every couple of months, back up important files, do not ignore warnings and alerts from your security programs and use Guest and Limited accounts for other users on your computer.
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