Secure Your PC Easily and Protect Your Data

To begin, a joke: Why did the programmers confuse Halloween and Christmas? Since 25 DEC is the same as 31 OCT. Laugh out loud! You really don’t need to read this article if you already knew that.

There is a common adage that there is no such thing as 100% protection. Although this is valid, it does not excuse you to avoid unauthorised access from taking all reasonable steps. We’ll look at a few ways to keep your data safe in this post.

Local Safety

Local access is the most promising way for an attacker to bypass your protection out of all the various ways an intruder can access your device. It’s only a matter of time if an individual has local access to a computer before the data on the computer is extracted.

Protecting your machine from local threats, on the other hand, is simple and takes just a few minutes. First, make your BIOS setup password-protected. In most cases, accessing the BIOS configuration requires pressing Esc, Tab, F1, or another key. From there, there should be a protection tab in the configuration menu. Open the Security tab and create a strong password (there are hints about choosing a good password later on). Also, set the machine to boot from the hard drive first, rather than the A: or CD-ROM drive. The reason it shouldn’t try to read the A: or CD-ROM drive is that, even if a BIOS password is set, an attacker might use a CD-ROM bootable O.S. like Knoppix to steal your password. Save your changes and then leave.

To create a password for your Windows accounts, follow these steps:

For users of Windows NT and XP, make sure your administrative account has a password. Also, make any other accounts you have password-protected and disable the guest account.

Users of Windows 95, 98, and ME: The security provided by these platforms is inadequate to protect your data. Other types of security, such as encryption, will be the best choice for these platforms.

Security on the Internet

The Internet raises a slew of security concerns, but there are several viable solutions since these concerns are so widespread. Let’s take a look at a couple of them now.

Firewalls: Firewalls protect ports. Your device connects to the Internet through ports. For example, to view a webpage, your computer connects to the website’s computer through port 80. Trojans are programmes that open ports on your device, allowing anyone to gain access and do whatever they want with it, including stealing passwords and credit cards. You can close most ports and shield your device from Internet attacks by using a firewall. Zone Lab’s free firewall, ZoneAlarm, is one that I strongly recommend. Zone Lab’s website, http://www.zonelabs.com, hosts it.

Anti-virus software: Ah, the sound of its name makes me think of poetry… but seriously, anti-virus software is a serious business. I’m serious. There’s no way around it: you must be safe! Anti-virus software is not, and never was, the be-all and end-all of computer security. It is, however, a significant and effective form of protection against viruses, trojans, and worms. Let’s speak about money now… it’s the universal language. Most anti-virus software and subscriptions are expensive, so shop around for the best prices. Norton Anti-virus (http://www.symantec.com/) and McAffee (http://www.mcafee.com) are the most common anti-virus software products. Try AVG by Grisoft (http://www.grisoft.com/) for those who can’t survive without freebies. The personal version is completely accessible… and fantastic. It’s literally… and I don’t mean in a joking way… open. Wow, that was incredible. Try them all out and see which one you want. If you don’t already have one, set up auto-scan after you get one. Okay, you’re all set! Concentrate your efforts and merge with the army!

Spyware security:

Spyware… this stuff can be downright nasty. These are the programmes that collect data about you and give it to their nefarious masters. Take care! Will Robinson, you’re in danger! Let’s talk about how to get rid of them now. Spybot: Search and Destroy (cool name – http://www.safer-networking.org/en/index.html) and Ad-aware (http://www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware/) are the two key programmes (both free!) that people will argue over for days. Try both and decide which one you prefer.

Now for the most effective protection tool… pay attention… this is solid! THIS IS COMMON SENSE! Social engineering defeats firewalls, anti-virus software, and spyware security. The act of deceiving others into compromising their security is known as social engineering. Now, I understand your point: why would someone jeopardise their protection because a stranger told them to?!? It’s inexplicable… yet it happens. Every single time. Consider some of the e-mail messages you’ve sent… “I adore you!” “Your photos are on the inside!” “I came across your profile…” If you download a virus expecting to see something and only see something completely different, you’ve been the target of social engineering. While the majority of social engineering attacks are more effective and dangerous, you get the idea.

To keep yourself healthy, use the following checklist:

Create a password for your bios.

Change the initialisation location to the hard disc.

Create a password for each user account.

Switch off the guest account.

Install and configure the firewall.

Anti-virus software should be downloaded and installed.

Install spyware removal software.

Make use of common sense!

Remember that protection is a path, not a destination.

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