Lock Down Your Passwords
If someone gets into your accounts whether it's your email or bank account they could steal information, contacts, account numbers, make purchases, sell your information, your contacts, or hijack your email.
Here are some basic guidelines for a more secure password:
- Should be no less than 8 characters
- Could be as long as 16 to 20 characters
- Use special characters: for example ! @ #
- Do Not use dictionary words: example pick the first letters of each word of a sentence or song lyric
- Should include at least one upper and lower case letter and a number.
Education plays a major role in the human firewall, but you still need a hardware or software firewall. First, don't open suspicious emails, emails with subject lines that contain misspelled words, emails from someone you don't know, even some emails from those you do know. You need to be cautious because your friends could have been infected and their computer might have sent you an email, not them. For example: emails from the IRS. The Government doesn't generally send emails or even have your email address. You should just delete emails from people you do not know, because even just viewing them can cause Malware to run on your computer.
Don't visit websites that your unfamiliar with. You could use a website like www.virustotal.com to submit the URL of the website prior to visiting it.
Why Do I Need Antivirus Software?
Running your computer without antivirus is just asking for trouble. It's a necessity. Yes it may slow things down slightly, but you could potentially get hit with a virus within days of letting it expire or not having one installed. Keep your software up to date, both the program and the definitions. If you've been running the same version for several years its time to download the latest version. For example: don't run the 2009 version because the software companies have improved pieces of the program that can detect viruses that are not in the virus definitions that are released daily.
Security Updates, No Thanks
This is a common response, but it should not be overlooked. Updates play a role on how effective your antivirus software is too. You may have the latest version & still get infected because a security hole wasn't patched. We recommend installing these updates as soon as possible. Microsoft is not the only company, so be sure to install updates from the following as well: Adobe, Java, Firefox, Chrome and Safari etc. Software Manufacturers are constantly providing updates to their software. If you are in an environment with multiple PCs you may consider testing the updates first before installing them. Always have a good backup and/or create a system restore point prior to installing the updates just in case your system has a problem or something stops working after the updates.