Computer Security Essentials Everyone Should Know

network_security_cablesEveryone should know the following security essentials before going online. Unfortunately, few people do and online theft and fraud are rampant. But you can help put a stop to it by learning the following techniques:

Security Essentials #1: Don’t Download

Don’t download files or programs from an untrustworthy site no matter how great the offer. Hackers often create fake versions of real programs to get you to download and install viruses on your computer. Also there is no doubt that not all free software comes from a reputable company.

Once the virus is installed on your computer, it can access all of your files as well as use your computer to scam other users or to share illicit material such as child pornography.

It is important to protect your computer from viruses, but sometimes people simply let them in themselves.

Security Essentials #2: Don’t Enter Your Info

Never give any site your personal information unless you’re sure it’s the site it’s claiming to be. For example, if somebody sends you a link to a Facebook page which asks you to log in, make sure it’s actually Facebook you’re using.

The best way to ensure a site’s authenticity is to type in its Web address directly. For example, instead of clicking the link to Facebook, open up your Web browser and type in www.facebook.com directly.

Security Essentials #3: Trust People, Not Email

Chances are you’re online because many of your best friends and favorite family members are online. You trust these people, so when they ask you to do something—such as send them money—you automatically comply.

But remember that it’s easy to forge or hack into someone’s account online, so the people you think you’re chatting with may not be your actual friends and family. For example, hackers commonly break into people’s email and Facebook account and then send a bogus message to their contacts requesting a Western Union wire transfer because of some emergency.

If you respond to the request, you’ll find that your money has disappeared without any way to get it back. Before you do anything online which might cost you money or hurt your reputation, verify the identity of the other person. The easiest way to do this is by giving them a call on the telephone or through a service like Skype.

Security Essentials #4: Always Have Protection

Protecting your computer is important, especially if you are not sure what is actually safe on the internet. The simplest thing you can do is to make sure that your firewall is enabled on your computer.

You can do this in Windows by following these instructions: 

  1. Go to the start menu.
  2. Choose control panel from the menu.
  3. Click on the Windows Firewall icon to make sure your firewall is on.

windows firewall

The next thing you can do is improve your computer security through education, because you can have all the protection you like but still do silly things to get your computer infected.
Featured image credit: violin / 123RF Stock Photo