Before you upload or store your sensitive information about yourself in computer, you'll need to take the necessary steps to ensure your personal and financial sensitive information stay confidential and safe. Following tips will help you to keep your computer on lockdown and off limits to identity thieves.
1. Use Passwords to Protect All Sensitive Information from Computer:
Never keep your computer and laptop without password. Always make sure your machine is perfectly locked with strong password. You shouldn’t leave sensitive documents laying out for prying eyes; likewise, you need to put away the information stored on your computer in a safe place: locked behind a password in your own user account. That's because if you have a snoopy houseguest or if a thief picks up your laptop, they could get at your information as you sleep if it's not password protected. Always allow a separate user account for others to surf on your machine so you keep your sensitive information private.
How to create strong password? For Windows-based machines, go into the Control Panel, choose user accounts and follow the instructions. Mac users must create a password upon using the computer for the first time and they can change their password settings by going into System Preferences. There they can disable automatic login. (If you get stuck, ask a trusted techie for assistance. That goes for all these tips.)
2. Keep Updating Your Password Periodically : We are constantly called upon to change or create passwords. How many do we repeat or name something ridiculously easy to guess? Here are some rules for creating better passwords:
Don't make it personal: Passwords shouldn't be words from the dictionary, spouses' names, birthdays, Social Security numbers, things that people think are clever because they won't have to write them down. Once a thief gets that fundamental information, it's easier to figure out personal passwords.
Don't recycle: A lot of people will end up reusing a lot of the same username and password combinations, so oftentimes a hacker will gather in that information and use it successfully on other sites. If you keep passwords in an encrypted vault, you don't have to worry about making it easy to remember either. And, by encrypting the list, you solve the physical security problem of written lists. Best passwords should be composed of a combination of letters and numbers.
3. Always Keep Firewall in Turned 'On' Status:
In the world of computer firewall protection, a firewall refers to a network device which blocks certain kinds of network traffic, forming a barrier between a trusted and an untrusted network. It is analogous to a physical firewall in the sense that firewall security attempts to block the spread of computer attacks.
Before you are going to want to make sure that all the existing security settings your computer comes with are turned on. If you want to go out and buy added protection later, that's better. Just make sure you have basic protection enabled before going online. First, turn on your firewall. Your computer should come with a firewall, or perhaps a software package came bundled with your purchase that includes a firewall. It's basically a set of programs that work together to enforce the safety rules you outline when you choose a security level. The firewall is the gatekeeper for Internet activity. The default setting is usually on, but you'll want to verify that it's on if you don't see the firewall icon when you turn on the computer. In order to protect your machine from outside attack it is always recommended to keep your firewall in on status. System firewall help to block unwanted program interaction with outside server.
4. Always Install Effective 'Antivirus' Software:
Next, important thing is to install and keep up to date the anti -- antivirus and antispyware. These can be packaged separately or together. Spyware is software installed surreptitiously by outsiders on your computer that stealthily collects information as you navigate the Internet. Only some spyware is actually malicious; the spyware that marketers use is sometimes called adware. Viruses are pervasive and pernicious. More than 90 percent of all viral attacks go after the consumer, ‘One out of every 233 e-mails that comes in is going to carry some kind of malicious code. With odds like that stacked against you, you can't afford to go out without protection." Immediately download or activate antivirus and antispyware software, is advisable. "Now days, computers are sold with software with a free 30 or 90 days trial version. If you already have other antivirus software, you should click it ‘On’ – or you can even shop during the free trial period, but you should make sure that you have something running before you start surfing the Web to protect your sensitive information over the internet. If your computer doesn't come with anything for security software, then you can always by premium antivirus or security software.
5. Scheduled Automatic Scan for Antivirus to Stay Protected:
Keeping up with computer security trends is easy. Just set automatic updates for your security software and let them run on scheduled time. Having the best security system in the world doesn't do you any good unless you keep it current and upto date with its virus definition. In order to always keep information protected from the computer, your antivirus should download the latest updates, patches automatically. From the time the computer is boxed until you bring it home and plug it in, a lot can change: Either new threats arise or security flaws are detected in the software, so it is important to get the updates immediately. New attacks are being created daily. Set your protection updates to run regularly: daily is best. Then run your full system scans regularly against viruses and spyware. Do make sure your security software has scheduled scan set appropriately.
6. Don’t Download Attachment and Software Without Scan:
Never ever download the attachments from unknown person without scanning it. Attachments may contain an virus could damage or steal your sensitive information from computer. Never open or execute any e-mail attachment if you don't know the person. Always scan all the attachment prior to download to your computer even through it is from your known one person. If you've ever looked at spam and wondered how anyone could be fooled by the atrocious grammar and ridiculous promises, perhaps next time the joke will be on you. The messages are getting more polished and more targeted. Message Labs has seen a sharp increase over the last four years of targeted Trojans. These programs lurk inside something that appears innocuous, such as a Word document or spreadsheet. When that document is activated, the Trojan gets to work, perhaps shipping information out of the My Documents file. These usually get sent to a single individual, so they rarely get on the radar of the broader security community. Consumers think that they can recognize a spam attack, but the attacks are becoming very regionalized and they look just like something you might expect to get from somebody. You shouldn't view, open, or even execute e-mail attachments unless you know the source, it's expected and you know the purpose of it. Sometimes your friends are the unwitting messengers of malicious code. Even forwarded messages that legitimately come from friends might redirect to recipients to a dangerous URL.
7. Always Take Wireless Precautions, Keep Wifi Password Protected:
if you can't afford to share your wireless connection with the neighbors. Letting people piggyback on your connection sucks up bandwidth, slowing you down. Worse: They could potentially see everything on your computer. As per the security research survey most people will connect in an insecure manner and end up exposing most of the information that is on their drive. You should not allow anyone to connect over the wireless network to your documents folder if it has all your passwords on it. If you don't turn on wireless encryption, a neighbor who's only halfway computer savvy could easily put something on your PC that would track your keystrokes, worms and can steal your sensitive information. This means that even if you're logging onto a secure site, they would be able to record the keystrokes and go back and log in later. It's very tempting to buy a wireless router, plug it in and be up and running within a matter of minutes, but realize that by default the firewall component of that router might not be on. Following tips will help you to keep your wireless network secure and safe.
How to create secure wireless network: The typical wireless router will have local area network, or LAN, ports in which you plug in wires connecting to your computer. That's how you can initially install your updates to the wireless software.
Encrypt: Usually the router will come with a CD that has installation software and the installation software should have a tab on it for security and should show you how to set up encryption. You may be able to choose from various types of encryption. If so, choose WPA, or its newer variant, WPA2, as they're considered more secure than the older WEP encryption.
Always rename your connection from the default name: Your connection is called the service set identifier, or SSID, which is the name of a local wireless area network. It's a case-sensitive string of text with up to 32 characters. You want to call it something that won't identify you, because this is what anyone in the area can see.
Always choose a strong passphrase to password-protect your router: Don't worry about having to remember this long string of characters. You'll log in from your computer with something shorter. But do keep the passphrase in a secure place that you won't forget about. It will takes a few extra minutes to set it up upfront when you do it, but it ensures that rogues are not going to connect to your wireless network without you knowing about it.
8. Keep Safe and Protected Your Smartphone and Tablets:
Remember, smart phones, Tablets PDAs are computers too, which raises two real risks: software security breaches and physical security breaches, such as when you lose the phone. Luckily, consumers can proactively find solutions to keep cell phones safe, just as on home computers. You should always password lock your phone. That will make it harder for a thief to get at your information. Then, call your operator to have the phone locked, if possible, or your subscription canceled. Threats to mobile software are growing, so it's important to protect yourself by downloading security software to your smart phone, tablet or PDA. Traditionally, crackers, the nickname for criminal hackers, haven't been much of a threat to cell phones because older models were essentially dumb boxes, but now the devices are getting smart -- and so are thieves. If you're going to engage in mobile banking, even though banks are trying to protect their customers on their end, you should have some sort of mobile security just as you have on your home computer. The average consumer trusts their device. But as soon as you start putting confidential information -- passwords, identifiers -- that you're then going to send to the bank, that now becomes information either on your cell phone, at risk, or over the air, at risk. People should know that what's sent over to them can be pulled out of the air. Tablets should never be used to send Social Security numbers or financial information. Same with cell phones, actually. We hear people all the time in public giving things, that first of all, anyone could overhear, but also that anyone with that kind of scanner could pull out of the air. Be aware of the kinds of information you send over a tablet, smart phone or PDA’s because it might not have the kinds of protections that you think it does. When in doubt, get to a landline or a secure computer.
9. Clean Up Computer Before Reselling Or Recycling:
Before reselling or recycling your old computer, laptop, Smart Phone or Tablet make sure you wipe the system with a file scrubber. Simply deleting files and emptying the trash bin doesn't mean they can't be recovered by anyone motivated to uncover them. Free versions of file scrubbers, also called disk wipes or data scrubbers, can be found by doing a quick online search.
Don’t struggle with your computer for longer than you have to. Just a small amount of time with one of our qualified and experienced technicians may be all that you need to get everything working exactly how you need it. It is always recommended to seek for professional service.