Security Measures For Your PC

by: Paul Wilson

Data on a PC needs vigilance. With Internet access, data is at considerable risk from spy ware and other browsers. Eliminate risks by securing your PC. Anonymity of the net is not enough protection. Many can gain access and steal data, implant data, or dangerous viruses as well as Trojan horses.

Simple steps ensure good system protection and peace of mind.

• Set effective passwords for all users. It should be of minimum seven characters and contain upper case, lower case, as well as be alpha-numeric. Uncrackable passwords are the key: uppercase in the middle not just at the beginning as well as interspaced numbers. Change user passwords by logging in using administrator privileges. Disable or remove XP’s file encryption before changing passwords, otherwise you will loose files. Major accounts that need protection are: administrator and any others created during installation of Windows.

• Prevent break in or use of security scanners by installing a firewall. This is just a software or hardware device that is configured to detect and prevent unauthorized or remote access to the computer. A firewall notes the address from which an access request is received and then permits or denies access. Generally all home Internet sharing systems have an inbuilt firewall as also Windows XP alternately, software firewalls are available like Zone alarm.

• Install antivirus software like Symantec or Macfee which will scan the system automatically once a week and check any e-mails that seem suspicious. Be sure to periodically update the program, computer viruses proliferate each day. Many antivirus programs update themselves automatically.

• Be vigilant about spyware and adware. These programs collect data and advertise products. They are installed without permission and collect data from computer for use in marketing. To curtail such practices use a reputable spyware finding tool. Many spyware finding tools are available free such as Ad-Aware.

• Block all security lapses or holes in Windows as this is used by malicious users to infect computer systems shutting them down and spreading to other associated systems. Use tools like security patches provided by the manufacturer of your operating system to remove dangers.

• Change the user name of the administrative account. This has full control to the files and system settings and becomes a target to hackers. Renaming the account strengthens security measures and protects your system.

• Disable ‘hidden shares” if present in your operating system. This is present in Windows 2000 as well as XP. This permits others with the username and password with remote access to all your files and data. Data can be deleted, copies, changed or added. Disabling this option will reduce dangers greatly.

• Change Security settings. Often ActiveX code can be used to infect your computer. Avoid trouble by raising the default security level to high. Function effectively by placing oft used web sites in the ‘trusted sites’ Internet zone. Doing this will allow unrestricted viewing of most used sites.

• Secure shared files by securing and configuring the guest user account. Password protect or disable the option.

• Stop using popular browsers like Internet Explorer or Outlook Express. Use a new web browser and email client, Mozilla, Opera, and Eudora are reliable options.

Be safe: back up your data regularly, be well informed of developments in the field of security.