Nothing is more basic to computer and PC network security than avoiding viruses, worms, malware, and other digital infections. Once they infiltrate your machine or machines, they can’t always be uprooted by even the best anti-virus programs. The best protection by far is to prevent them from finding a home on your computer or network. The following list of suggestions will serve you well in avoiding this bane.
- Never click on an attachment in an email if you’re not 100% certain that it’s legitimate (i.e., a trusted source). Common scams are for scurrilous email senders to impersonate banks, other financial institutions, or companies you know. Companies (other than e-commerce sites) rarely send unsolicited emails of this sort.
- Beware even of emails from people you do know, whose systems may have become inadvertently infected
- Consider switching from MS Internet Explorer browser to Mozilla’s Firefox, because the latter is more secure against infiltration. Also beware of using MS Outlook, which seems to be more susceptible to infections as well. Try another email client, such as Mozilla’s Thunderbird for example.
- Never click on a pop-up proclaiming some emergency in your municipality. It just means a hacker – actually, “cracker” is the correct term for malicious hackers has used your IP address to determine your location.
- Make sure to have an anti-virus program and that it automatically updates so it will always be up to date. Run a full system scan every week.
- Also install an anti-spyware program, such as AdAware, keep it updated, and scan weekly.
- Scan any email or IM attachment before opening it. You’re probably safe if the file format extension is among the following: .txt, .jpeg, .gif, .bmp, .tif, .mp3, .htm, .html, and .avi. Much higher risk file extensions include .exe, .bat, and .vbs. And double extension files are highly suspect as well.
- Don’t use disks from others. If someone does give you a hard drive that you want to use, run a wiping program such as DBAN first.
- Don’t download software from sites you’re not sure about.
- Set up your Windows Update to automatically download patches and upgrades, which should help with security threats.
Security for Mobile Computing & Communication Devices
Nowadays cell phone, PDAs, and smart phones are everywhere, and countless people use these devices to access their online information: emails, schedules, and web surfing. It’s clearly a component of our modern age. It also creates a computer and communications security nightmare, as the electromagnetic signals are quite easy to intercept. There are multiple ways in which information can be hoisted: theft of the device, wireless high-jacking or sniffing, unauthorized access, or raids on the service provider. Desktop computers in general are more secure.
Because of this, it’s essential that users of mobile devices take extra security precautionary measures. Most of the machines can be readily configured to protect security, and it’s key that you know how to use these features if you’ll be using the devices for anything the least bit proprietary or confidential (and that covers just about everyone, certainly in a business framework).
First, we strongly urge you to recognize that password protection is not sufficient; rather, all sensitive information must be encrypted – in transit and at rest. At this point, the best device by far for guaranteeing such security is the Blackberry, which features native encryption options.
- For one thing, you’ll want to enable auto-lock.
- Enable password protection (and try to use a fairly complex p/w).
- Turn off any auto-complete features.
- Configure browser security settings carefully.
- Eable remote wipe capability.
- Disable Bluetooth.
- Make sure your SSL protection is up and running.
- Install an antivirus program (full security suite) with automatic updating.
- Make sure you never leave the mobile device unattended.
- If it is stolen or lost, change your passwords forthwith.