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7 security tips for back to school

Seven Security Tips for Back to School

This week I ran across an article at Microsoft Security site that I thought would be useful for anybody, especially anyone who travels and is using possibly more than one computer over the course of day. The article was basically a checklist of good practices to keep users and their systems safe. Let’s take a gander at what Microsoft recommends.

1. The first step is covering the basics:
· Make sure you have a firewall
· Make sure your security software (anti-virus, anti-spyware) is up-to-date
· Make sure your computer is up-to-date as well by updating your operating system

2. Scrutinize all files sent to you through email and through Instant Messengers. Microsoft reminds us that being fooled into opening email attachments is still the most prevalent way in which viruses spread.

3. Viruses aren’t the only annoyances out there. Two quick rules of thumb for handling sp am are using email filters and deleting unwanted emails without opening them.

4. Then there is spyware. To my mind, a bad case of spyware can be the most annoying thing in the world. Keeping your anti-spyware software up-to-date and scanning regularly is the first step in the right direction.

5. Going wireless? Better secure that connection. Whether it’s securing your network [1] at home or your laptop on at the local hotspot, you’ve got to know how to “lock things down”. Being lax with your wireless security can really open the doors for unwanted trouble.

6. Password protecting your system is the best way to physically stop anyone from accessing your PC. If you carry around data on CD’s or Flash media (thumb drives), password protect them as well (this may help). Someone could find them and easily access the onboard data otherwise.

7. Last, but certainly not least, Back Up Your Data! Nothing can keep you down if you have a good backup plan and you execute it consistently. This can allow you to still turn in that mid-term paper or business proposal without having to tell your teacher or boss that your dog ate your assignment.

That’s it, seven tips for protecting and securing your system and sensitive information from cyber attackers. This might all seem very general or even fundamental, but that’s the point. This is a pre-flight checklist of your PC maintenance and security routine, if you will. Is your system secure and ready for takeoff?

~ Chad Stelnicki