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10 tips for personal computer protection


  1. Use Strong Passwords
    Use different user ID / password combinations for different accounts and avoid writing them down. Make the passwords more complicated by combining letters, numbers, special characters and change them on a regular basis.
  2. Secure your computer
    • Activate your firewall
      Firewalls are the first line of cyber defense; they block connections to unknown or bogus sites and will keep out some types of viruses and hackers.
    • Use anti-virus/malware software
      Prevent viruses from infecting your computer by installing and regularly updating anti-virus software.
    • Block spyware attacks
      Prevent spyware from infiltrating your computer by installing and updating anti-spyware software.
  3. Be Social-Media Savvy
    Make sure your social networking profiles (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, MSN, etc.) are set to private. Check your security settings. Be careful what information you post online.  Once it is on the Internet, it is there forever!
  4. Secure your Mobile Devices
    Be aware that your mobile device is vulnerable to viruses and hackers.  Download applications from trusted sources.
  5. Install the latest operating system updates
    Keep your applications and operating system (e.g. Windows, Mac, Linux) current with the latest system updates. 
  6. Protect your Data 
    Use encryption for your most sensitive files such as tax returns or financial records, make regular back-ups of all your important data, and store it in another location.
  7. Secure your wireless network
    Wi-Fi (wireless) networks at home are vulnerable to intrusion if they are not properly secured. Review and modify default settings. Public Wi-Fi, a.k.a. “Hot Spots”, are also vulnerable. Avoid conducting financial or corporate transactions on these networks.
  8. Protect your e-identity
    Be cautious when giving out personal information such as your name, address, phone number or financial information on the Internet. Make sure that websites are secure (e.g. when making online purchases) or that you’ve enabled privacy settings (e.g. when accessing/using social networking sites).
  9. Avoid being scammed
    Always think before you click on a link or file of unknown origin. Don’t feel pressured by any emails. Check the source of the message. When in doubt, verify the source. Never reply to emails that ask you to verify your information or confirm your user ID or password.  
  10. Call the right person for help
    Don’t panic! If you are a victim, if you encounter illegal Internet content (e.g. child exploitation) or if you suspect a computer crime, identity theft or a commercial scam, report this to your local police. If you need help with maintenance or software installation on your computer, consult with your service provider or a certified computer technician.