September 24, 2015 · developer
Computer Security Basics: Keeping Yourself Safe
There is likely nothing more unpleasant than finding out you have a virus on your computer. The horror of realizing your email account just blasted your entire address book with an email that contains a virus can ruin more than just your day. Wanting to do unsavory things to these hackers is a perfectly normal reaction. Unfortunately, those snakes are very difficult to catch in a dark alley, but fret not! There is hope for all you good standing citizens out there. Below I’ve complied a list of a few things you can do to protect yourself and your address books from these demons.
The first thing you can do to protect yourself from giving your computer a cold is get into a frame of mind that I will not let these devils beat me. What I mean by this is simple – do not not let them trick me into clicking on something that might be a virus. If you receive an email from an unfamiliar source just delete it. There is no need to let the curiosity get the best of you. You know what they say about curiosity. It destroys computers, or something about cats, either way you get the point. If you get an email from an obscure friend and it has a link that says hey ‘click this link to win a million dollars’, don’t do it. I have a few rules that I live by and one of them is ‘If it’s to good to be true, be skeptical’. The main point here is to stay focused and not let tricksters bait you into downloading a virus. You need to have a skeptical mind set in order to avoid infection.
Take that mentality to popups! Our most favorite form of online marketing that should probably have some type of congressional oversight is next up. Never ever believe the popups that tell you that you have a virus. If it’s not coming from your own virus protection then it’s a lie. Even if it’s not a lie assume it’s a lie, because why would you take a chance with your credit score or more importantly your social media passwords. Popups come in many forms. Some look like they are legitimate alerts and are designed to confuse the user into clicking. Don’t be that guy or gal. Learning to distinguish between good popups that really want to sell you something and those that just want to infect your computer is key. Again, be skeptical. The point here is to learn how the Internet works and how most viruses are transmitted. Being smart and diligent in your browsing will go a long way to keep your computer healthy.
If you are using a PC you must have virus protect. This is the best line of defense against infection. There are plenty of paid programs you can install on your computer like Mcafee or Norton, but who has time for that nonsense. If you are careful you can use programs from http://download.cnet.com. This website offers a program I’ve used for many years called AVG Free. AVG free does a good job of monitoring your computer. Malware bytes is another really good program from download.cnet.com that helps keep malware off your PC. I run both these programs on my personal computer. When you set these programs up make sure you set them to auto update. You should also have your computer set to auto update for that matter. Viruses and weaknesses in security are being discovered every day. Updates help patch those holes in the defense and keep you safe.
Are you still using Internet Explorer? Well if you are, you need to stop. Using IE is like showing up to your job wearing legwarmers and teased up 80’s style hair. It’s outdated. Google Chrome is regularly regarded as a much more secure browser to use on the Internet. One thing I like about Chrome is that it does a really good job of telling you if the site you are visiting is malicious. They also have extensions you can add to the browser as well to help you monitor these sites. Here is an install walkthrough for one of those extensions. Listen to Google. I hear they have really smart people working there.
These are just a few of the things I recommend to people to help them browse the Internet safely. Hackers are constantly evolving so due diligence is key to keeping yourself safe. Be smart, be skeptical and built a giant wall of protection and you can keep most of those sneaky snakes at bay.