“In the last issue of ComputorEdge, Digital Dave gave one of his readers (and us subscribers) some interesting advice on keeping our computers safe. You too may find it useful.
Here it is:
“Since you are a “security nut,” I assume that you have antivirus and anti-spyware software running on your computer. In addition, you should have some sort of firewall protection for your Internet connection. If you haven’t already done so, put in a router between your DSL modem and the computer. The firewall in the router will give you added protection, plus it makes it easy to share the connection with trusted friends and family. This will make it harder for intruders to get onto your network and your computer.
By default, the drives on your computer are not shared. That means that even if someone is on your network, they cannot access the drives on your computer. If you do have reason to share a drive on the network, be sure to add password protection with a strong password.
Generally, your firewall software and the protections built into Firefox should do a pretty good job of blocking outside intrusions. However, once someone gets inside the wall to your computer, either through a virus or spyware, there is little to protect your drives.
Most viruses get in through trickery and our own lapses in judgment. There is no software that will protect us from ourselves. The most important steps to take are in preventing yourself from allowing something nefarious into your system.
• Never download (save) an unverified attachment in an e-mail, link on a Web page, or from a pop-up at a Web site. If it’s an unexpected e-mail from a friend, talk to that friend under separate cover to verify the document sent.
• The Internet browsers have built-in protections to prevent the Web sites from accessing your computer. If you are merely surfing the Web, you are in little danger of being infected. However, if you click on a link, then allow something to be downloaded, the risk begins. There are some add-ons for browsers, such as Adobe Reader and Flash, that can enhance the Web experience and need to be downloaded. Rather than downloading the software from any site that may determine that you need it, you should go directly to the parent site for the software.
• Be suspicious of everything, especially windows that pop up offering to solve your virus problem.
• Only install software that you know comes from a legitimate source. Even then, be cautious. If you are downloading software, be sure that it’s coming from the correct site.
• If you are not sure about something, do a Google search for reviews on the questionable item.
• If reading files is a concern, to further protect your files, you can encrypt files or entire drives to make them unreadable for people without the proper key, which can be kept on a thumb drive. This should stop reading, although not deleting or altering.
The best protection is to prevent problems from ever getting on your computer in the first place.”
Digital Dave at: www.computoredge.com