1. Do not download anything from the internet unless you absolutely must!
(Limewire, Torrent Downloads a NO NO)
2. If a web site says it needs to download something in order for the site to work or for you to get what you need to get, ask yourself if you really need to do it? If you can get by without it, do it. If you need a player, go to the web site where the player originates. For example, go to Adobe.com for the most recent version of Flash.
3. Don’t open any attachments in email unless you are expecting them and they are from people you know.
(Even this may fail, so you must SCAN E-mail messages before you open them)
4. Don’t click any links in email. Go the web site in question via your web browser by typing the web address yourself. Turning off html email will solve this.
5. When you get a “pop-up,” use Task Manager to close it.
(Press "Ctrl, Alt, Delete" and end the Process)
6. Back up your data to more than one medium. It’s only a matter of time before your hard drive fails.
7. Keep Windows up to date by allowing auto update to run.
8. Don’t install any software you don’t really need.
9. Don’t trust web sites.
10. Top Reason to combat Viruses "Scan your computer OFTEN".
(Set Daily scans of protection programs)
11. Turn on your Firewall.
(Most Anti-virus Programs have there own, use theirs)
12. Have an up-to-date Computer and Antivirus Programs.
(Biggest reason for getting infected, next to clicking on bad links and downloading)
1. Change Your Mindset.
Why would Hackers pick me? Most victims of computer crime do not think of themselves as an inviting target for an attack. Problem is, the majority of those who prowl the Internet don't really care about your email messages or file content. Prowlers do care about finding a platform from which to launch anonymous attacks against other computers, or about your credit card number and personal information. Any computer connected to the Internet becomes worthwhile prey.
Why should I care? If your computer is broken into or infected with a virus, the steps to recovery can consume a few or many hours, depending on the nature and extent of the damage. Some or all of your data can become corrupted or lost. Unwanted aggravation and loss of valuable time is in store for you and others who are involved in performing the recovery steps.
2. Patch Frequently.
Along with weak passwords and virus-spreading email attachments, unpatched computer systems constitute one of the greatest security threats on the Internet. All major operating system vendors offer mechanisms that will allow you to regularly check for updates and apply them. It is important to keep your system to the current patch level to minimize your exposure.
3. Use Antivirus Software & Keep It Current. Keep Your System Protected Against Spyware.
4. Be Careful With Passwords.
Make passwords strong. .
Protect passwords from misuse. Don't let anyone else know or use your password. Don't write it down; or if you must, keep it in a locked area or in your wallet. Don't post it on your computer or anywhere around your desk. Don't include the name of the system or the associated login ID with the password. Change your password periodically, even if it hasn't been compromised. Don't type your password while anyone is watching.
5. Remove Spyware.
Spyware is software that is installed on your computer without your knowledge or is bundled with other software you download from the internet. Spyware can:
• Track what you are doing on your computer for marketing purposes
• Reset the homepage and search pages on your browser
• Create pop-up advertisements
• Slow down your computer's Internet connection
• Interfere with your computer's normal operations
Spyware removal programs are available free for download from the Internet. Two popular ones are Ad-Aware andSpybot Search and Destroy.
Other Good Practices
Guard against Identity Theft
Bad things happen to your good name when Phishers get a hold of your identity. VISA provides great information concerning how Identity Theftoccurs, how you can minimize your risk, what to do if you are a victim, resolving credit problems, etc.
Keep your original system software handy
If your computer is compromised or you fall prey to a nasty virus, it may be necessary to reformat the disk drive and reload the operating system and drivers. Keeping your original system software in a safe and easily reachable place ensures that you won't have to waste valuable time searching for these items or downloading them from the Web.
Avoid Phishing Scams (Microsoft.com)
Phishing is the practice of sending millions of bogus emails that appear to come from popular Web sites or from your bank or credit card company. The emails look so official that many people will respond to requests for their password, credit card information, and other personal information. Microsoft recommends the below four steps to avoid Phishing Scams. View the entire article from Microsoft.com.
• Don't respond to e-mails requesting personal information.
• Don't click on a link in an e-mail that you suspect might be fake.
• Check a Web site's security certificate before you enter any personal information.
• Routinely review your credit card and bank statements
Monitor your system's unused disk space regularly.
If you see a large unexplained drop in available space, investigate the cause promptly.
Back up your locally stored data regularly and keep copies in another location.
How important is your data to you? If it's important, it should be backed up. If it matters enough to get upset over losing, it's worth protecting, and backups are an essential part of data protection. Part of your preventive maintenance and system care should include regular, reliable data backups. No matter how well you treat your system, no matter how much care you take, you cannot guarantee that your data will be safe if it exists in only one place. The risks are much greater than most people realize.
Email-distributed viruses that use spoofing, such as the Klez or Sobig virus, take a random name from somewhere on the infected person’s hard disk and mail themselves out as if they were from that randomly chosen address. Recipients of these viruses are therefore misled as to the address from which they were sent, and may end up complaining to, or alerting the wrong person. As a result, users of uninfected computers may be wrongly informed that they have, and have been distributing a virus.
If you receive an alert that you’re sending infected emails, first run a virus scan using your antivirus program. If you are uninfected, then you may want to reply to the infection alert with this information:
“Your virus may have appeared to have been sent by me, but I have scanned my system and I am not infected. A number of email-distributed viruses fake, or spoof, the ‘From' address using a random address taken from the Outlook contacts list or from Web files stored on the hard drive.”
But keep in mind that a virus alert message is quite often auto generated and sent via an anti-virus server and so replying to the original email may not elicit a response.
Alternatively, if you receive an email-distributed virus, look at the Internet Headers information to see where the email actually originated from, before firing off a complaint or virus alert to the person you assume sent it.
Keeping Your System at Current Patch Level
Microsoft Windows Operating Systems
Older versions of Windows (95, 98,ME, and XP) are not supported by Microsoft. If you are running one of these older versions, it is strongly suggested that you upgrade to Windows 7 if possible.