10 ways you can protect your computer in 2010

With a growing number of cyber criminals trying to infiltrate computers by stealth, ESET have drawn up a list of sensible precautions that people should take to protect themselves and their machines in 2009. Simply following the below advise will substantially reduce the chances of a successful attack.

  1. Disable Autorun in Windows: this facility is consistently exploited by criminals that use USB storage devices such as flash memory sticks and even digital photo frames, to infect computers.
  2. Keep applications and Operating System (eg: Windows, MAC) components up-to-date with automatic updates and patches, and by regularly reviewing the vendors’ product update sections on their web sites.
  3. Log on to the computer with an account that does not have “Administrator” privileges, to reduce the likelihood and severity of damage from self-installing malicious software.
  4. Use different passwords for the computer and on-line services. Also practice changing passwords on a regular basis and avoid simple passwords, especially those that are easily guessed.
  5. Do not trust unsolicited files or embedded links, even from friends. It’s easy to spoof email addresses, for instance, or to disguise a harmful link so that it looks like something quite different, whether it’s in email, chat or whatever.
  6. Do not disclose sensitive information on public websites like FaceBook or LinkedIn. Even information that in itself is innocuous can be combined with other harmless information and used in social engineering attacks.
  7. If sensitive information is stored on the hard drive, protect it with encryption and by regularly backing up your data to a separate disk and, where possible, a remote site or facility.
  8. Do not expect antivirus alone to protect the computer. Use additional measures such as a personal firewall, antispam and anti-phishing toolbars. However, be aware that there is a lot of fake security software out there, and sometimes even the best protection might not protect as well as common sense and caution.
  9. Do not connect to just any “free Wi-Fi” access point. It might be the “evil twin” of a legitimate access point, set up to intercept your logins and online transactions.
  10. Do not use cracked/pirated software! These are easy avenues for introducing malware into, or exploiting weaknesses in a system. This also includes P2P (peer-to-peer) illegally distributed audio and video files.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

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