The purpose of this tutorial is to provide basic security practices and information to help readers secure their computers against viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, adware, and hackers. It will provide information about security practices and how to implement them along with many tips that will help readers understand how to operate their computer more securely and safely.
If you do not at least have a personal firewall and anti-virus protection then you should not connect your computer to the internet. Not following these basic requirements is a perfect formula for getting trojans, viruses, worms, and backdoors which can ruin your system causing you to need to reformat your hard drive and re-install your operating system.
Summary of Security Requirements and Recommendations
This page summarizes reasonable security requirements and recommendations which all computer users which access the internet should take to protect themselves and the internet community in general. Subsequent pages will discuss the details of why these precautions should be taken and how to implement them.
- Every computer that connects to the internet in any form MUST have a personal firewall.
- Every computer must have virus protection and it must be kept current.
- Only open e-mail attachments when you are sure the sender is really who it appears to be.
- Only browse the internet with a safe browser or change your browser settings to make it more secure.
- Operate at least one anti-spyware/anti-adware program on your system.
- Be very careful about downloading and installing programs from the internet, especially free ones.
- Keep your e-mail address confidential and NEVER post an email address in an unsecured web page on the internet. This practice reduces spam and chance of getting virus or scam emails. Use a different email address to give to those you are not sure you can trust. Be aware of how retailers may use your e-mail. Some retailers that are very well known have been known to sell email addresses.
- Be wary of malicious hyperlinks. Malicious hyperlinks are web links that look like they will take you to a particular site such as ebay.com but in reality they will take you to another site. Manually type the address of the site you want to go to rather than clicking on the link in an e-mail.
- Educate yourself about internet threats and how computers work.
- Encrypt any sensitive data that you store on your computer.
As the security field changes and computer intruders become more aggressive, it is becoming increasingly necessary for all computer users to have at least a basic understanding of the operation of computers. For example, they should know what a file is, that it requires a certain amount of space to store, and that there are different file types associated with specific applications that access them. For more help in this area, the Computer Technology Documentation Project Basic Computer Section is worthwhile reading.