Defend Your Computer and Your Family

Jul 02, 2014

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For centuries people have been protecting their families and communities with various methods. During warfare, armies used weapons, trenches, and walls; families have built homes for refuge and shelter. All of these were created for protection.

Now, the danger is within the walls of our “safe-havens” and coming from the Internet. The walls and weapons of today’s society is software that protects against viruses and explicit material, and strong passwords. 

The methods listed below will defend and protect your families against the threats of this century.

Update Your Operating System

It is a rare thing for software to be perfect the day it is released- there may be security holes and bugs to work out. As soon as one is found, companies will make an update that is designed to fix them. It is your responsibility as the customer to update your system as often as available. If you use Windows, set up the Windows Update by scrolling to the Start Menu and choosing Control Panel, then selecting Check for Updates. Doing so will tell your computer to automatically look for updates and download the latest ones.

Firewalls

As with any good security system and barrier, a firewall will prevent unwanted Internet users from seeing your system. Often times, a firewall will catch ports or doorways that allow access to your computer and restrict the malicious hackers or information from coming through.

If your computer does not come with a program built in, some good options are Norton Firewall, and ZoneAlarm.

Anti-Virus Software

A Virus can be downloaded secretly to a computer and cause major damage to existing data and operating systems. Because new viruses are being constantly designed, it is important to scan your computer regularly. Antivirus programs such as Trend Mirco, McAfee, and Symantec can be set to run automatic scans and updates.

Parental Controls

In order to comprehensively filter content so that unwanted sites and material are blocked, filtering software is the answer. By purchasing and installing this kind of control, it will protect any accidental exposure that may be damaging to your family.

Whether your family uses a PC or Mac, parental control products like Net Nanny are available.  Net Nanny and other programs have been produced for multiple users on one computer. Administrators can alter and change the settings for each individual user.

Anti- Spyware and Adware

Have you ever been searching for something on Google and five minutes later an advertisement pops up for the very same thing? You can thank spyware and adware. Spyware tracks your searches, website visits, and every other move on the Internet. It then uses adware to display pop-ups based on your Internet habits.

Anti-Spyware and Anti-Adware software is made specifically for blocking these. Window’s Defender is a free, noteworthy program. If not blocked, these will slow and ruin your computer.

Passwords

If you like to take matters into your own hands, start with your passwords.  If you currently have a weak password, or the same password for every account, all your web information could easily be compromised.  

In order to be certain that you have a strong password go through this checklist:

  1. At least 10 characters long
  2. Use various characters, symbols, numbers, and letter cases
  3. DO NOT use anything that is personal or associated with family, birth year, etc.
  4. Change your passwords often ( especially for any account containing highly sensitive information)

Options for protecting your computer are not scarce and neither are hackers and viruses. Protect your family by using anti-virus software, firewalls, and parental controls before it’s too late.

Sources: http://www.wolftech.ncsu.edu/support/support/Security

http://www.atg.wa.gov/InternetSafety/DefendingYourComputer.aspx#.U49rbSjElOx