101 Tips (4) How to protect your computer

Avoid clicking on hyperlinks.
Hyperlinks in email messages can be misleading, as the text shows one address but the link may take you to another.  Before clicking on links in e-mails or Web pages, hold the cursor over the link and verify that the address that appears at the bottom of your browser window is the same one that you intend to visit.
Type with care.
On-line criminals often create Web sites that look similar to another site and use common misspellings of the original site as the URL.  Be sure that you are typing accurately, or use a bookmark to visit favorite sites.
Report phishing.
Emails that appear to be legitimate and ask for information are forms of phishing.  If you receive a phishing e-mail, forward it to the appropriate bureaus, including the Anti-Phishing Working Group (reportphishing@antiphishing.org) and the Federal Trade Commission (spam@uce.gov).
Review your accounts.
Look at your bank and credit card statements for suspicious or unknown transactions. These are often a signal of identity theft. Report these situations to your bank as soon as possible.
Practice the golden rule.
The Internet is a global community with many positive benefits.  Just as in the real world, be responsible, safe and respectful towards others.  Also respect any rules or laws that apply to your on-line activity.
Do not open unknown e-mails.
Delete any e-mails from unknown senders.   Also be aware of email attachments and do not download attachments that you are unsure about, even if you recognize the sender.  Do not forward unknown attachments to others.
Create strong, private passwords.
Choose password that would be hard for others to guess.  Do not use obvious passwords like a name or birth date.  Use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols in your password and do not share your password with anyone.
Use firewall protection.
Install firewalls to prevent hackers from gaining access to your computer. This will prevent theft of any personal information stored on the computer.  You may choose an external or software firewall depending on your network needs.
Do not file share with strangers.
Sharing files can allow a stranger to look at files stored on your computer or plant a virus to infect the computer.  Learn about the risks of file sharing, and learn how to disable file sharing on your operating system to prevent these risks. If a file sharing program is installed on your computer, be sure that it does not run automatically when you boot up your computer.

101 Tips (3) How to protect your computer

Consider a security suite.
If your operating system doesn’t include security features or you want extra protection, a security software suite will include all the products required to keep your computer safe.
Run your antivirus software.
Simply having antivirus software installed will not help your computer from being attacked.  Scan for viruses on a regular basis, or set the software to do automatic scans at a certain time daily.
Double your spyware protection.
Spyware can be difficult to detect, so it can be worth your while to use two different programs to search for spyware.  Set the stronger program for constant monitoring, and use the second for occasional scans to verify that nothing was missed by the first program.
Try disposable e-mail addresses. 
Create separate free e-mail addresses for different purposes. Use this “disposable” e-mail account to register for sites or complete surveys that may result in increased spam.  If the spam becomes overwhelming, close the account and create another.  This will keep the junk mail from your regular e-mail account, as you continue to use your regular e-mail address for business or personal communication.
Use credit cards.
When shopping on-line, credit cards offer higher protection than debit cards or other payment options. Credit card issuing banks offer protection against fraud that debit cards and checking accounts do not.
Devote a single credit card to online purchases. 
If only one card is used for all online transactions, misuse or identity theft will be easier to detect than if multiple cards were used.  Using a single card will also minimize the damage you experience if the card number is stolen.
Avoid saved passwords. 
Although saved passwords and saved site default settings can be convenient, if your computer is hacked into any saved account information becomes available to the attacker.  Limit the use of saved credit card numbers and addresses.
Look for evidence of secure sites. 
Only enter personal information on sites that have the https:// prefix or a padlock icon in your browser window.  This means that the Web site is secured and any information transmitted is encrypted and can not be read easily by humans.
Don’t assume that secure and honest are the same thing.
The https:// prefix and padlock symbol are good indicators of transmission security, but not of reputation.  Ensure that you shop from or do business with reputable companies by looking for the Better Business Bureau logo or other positive affiliations.  Also read reviews on-line to find out what other users have experienced with the company.
Guard your personal information.
 Do not respond to emails requesting personal information, like passwords, Social Security numbers and birthdates unless you know the sender or are expecting the email. If an email requests that you contact a telephone number, verify the number first.

101Tips (2) how to protect your computer

Block Pop-ups. 
Set your Internet browser to block pop-ups from websites and advertisements. This will minimize spyware and the chances of clicking on an ad that loads malware onto your computer.
Install a security toolbar.
Toolbars with security features offer an additional line of defense.  Most include features that block pop-ups, spam and known phishing sites.  Some are even able to detect potential consumer scams.
Create User Accounts. 
Create a user account that is separate from the default administrator account.  Only log in as the administrator when making configuration changes to the computer.  When the administrator account is used infrequently, the access to change configurations will be more limited to hacking.  You may also want to create an individual user account for each member of the family who uses the computer.  This will allow for each person to keep his or her information private.
Turn off your computer.
When you are not actively using your computer, shut down or disconnect from the Internet.  If your computer is on-line less frequently, the chance of access by a malicious source decreases.
Lock your computer if you step away.
If you take a break from your computer for only a few minutes, it’s enough time for a hacker to destroy or steal your information. Locking your computer password-protects your session until you return and prevents anyone else from physically or remotely accessing your information.
Be careful with public computers.
 Avoid banking or conducting other personal business on public computers at libraries, hotels and airports.  Not only could the on-line activity be intercepted, but strangers in the area could watch your activity and remember passwords and other personal details.
Consider Apple computers.
Since Windows personal computers are much more prevalent in the marketplace, most viruses and spyware is designed to penetrate Windows software. Mac owners still deal with spam and phishing issues, but the odds of virus attack is much less likely.
Be wary of downloads.
Free downloads are plentiful on the Internet, and the thousands of games, software and utility programs are very useful.  Unfortunately, many of these freebies include malware and spyware. Try to download programs only from well-known manufacturers and trusted sites.

101 Tips (1) how to protect your computer

Activate protection systems.
If your operating system comes standard with a built-in firewall, spam blocker, anti-virus software or other security application, be sure that it’s activated. Your Internet service provider may provide an e-mail spam filtering service that should also be turned on.
Upgrade your protection.
Using security software won’t help if it’s not up to date.  Be sure that you are using the latest versions of spam, spyware and virus-detection software.  The most current software will be ready to handle the most current on-line threats.  Also remember to renew subscriptions if the software registration expires at some point.
Use anti-virus software.
You should always have anti-virus software on your computer.  These programs scan all files that are downloaded from e-mail or opened from the hard drive to ensure that they are safe from malware before use.  When these programs detect a virus, they are able to isolate and destroy it so it does not infect your computer.
Use anti-spyware programs.
Just like anti-virus programs, spyware protection is also necessary. These programs scan your computer for spyware, browser hijackers and other malicious programs.  Both free and commercial anti-spyware products are available.
Update automatically.
Set both your operating system and security programs to update automatically. Your virus-detection software needs to adapt as new threats become known.  Allowing the software to do automatic updates will ensure that you always have the highest level of protection
Use a secure browser.
If you use an older version of Windows, upgrade your browser to Internet Explorer  or Firefox .  Both of these browsers have built-in features to detect on-line threats.