Securing Your System

There are several measures which you can take to secure your system. The first and most important is to become informed about how your system works and what the threats are. Reading this guide and acting on the tips contained here is a good start.

  • Personal firewall - If you are not behind a corporate firewall, purchase and install a personal firewall on your computer. This will help protect your system from many vulnerabilities that some worms will try to exploit.
  • Updates - Perform system updates often. You can go to the Windows Update site to download updates for your system. Another way to get updates if your system is running Windows 2000 or Windows XP is to configure your system to download automatic updates. This can be done by opening your control panel (Click on "Start", then select "Settings", and click on "Control Panel". To configure updates double click the "Automatic Updates" icon and choose one of three configurations.
  • Use anti-virus software with regular updates. Be sure to run anti-virus software and download updates at least twice per week. There are many brands of anti-virus software which may be purchased at your local computer, office supply store, or on the internet. I will not be recommending any name brands in this tutorial.
  • Be aware of how viruses spread and don't open attachments unless you are SURE they are legitimate. Call the sender if necessary to be sure they sent the email. Be sure your system settings are set so you can recognize potential virus files that may have multiple extensions such as filename.txt.exe. If the extension ends in .exe, .com, or .bat don't double click on it or run it unless you are SURE it is from a legitimate source.
  • Avoid installing bad applications. As mentioned in the section about application programs, some computer programs may come with spyware or adware. Avoiding these can be important in both securing your system and keeping your system performance from being degraded. Keep in mind that adware programs may download and install other programs from the internet. A personal firewall is one defense against this happening because it will normally notify you when a program accesses the internet.
  • Configure your system so you will see all file extensions as described on the page called "Windows File View Settings".

For more information about the security measures you should take, see the Home Computer Security article on this site.

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