You’ll find lots of places that will advise you on safe computing. Here’s my quick advice.
- Install all Windows updates
- Install Microsoft Security Essentials – free antivirus program. If you already have an antivirus program on your computer, and it is current, go ahead and use that. If it has expired, just uninstall it, then install MSE from the Microsoft Protect site (www.microsoft.com/protect) . After installation, get any updates, then do a quick scan of your computer. Do a full scan later; they take a while. If MSE finds anything, delete it. (BTW, some good computer safety tips on that site.)
- Install Personal Software Inspector from Secunia (www.secunia.com). It’s free. It will keep all of your other programs current. Do a scan, update everything.
- Uninstall Java. Look for it in Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs. It is probably not needed on your computer. (Some business applications use it; if so, make sure it is updated.)
- Change all of your online passwords. Don’t use the same password everywhere. Don’t use dictionary words. This is important, especially on financial sites.
- If you access your financials on-line, don’t do it at a public place. Do it at home, where you have a password for your wireless Internet. (You do have your home wireless password-protected, right?)
- Be careful about clicking on any links in emails or Facebook or other social sites. Be careful when any place asks you for your user name and password. Make sure it is legit.
So there’s some quick tips about getting and staying safe.
Oh, and one other thing. Your data is important. I use Carbonite to automatically back up all of my data without any effort on my part. Use this link: http://refer.carbonite.com/a/clk/1Tjw3f (Disclosure: I get a finder’s fee if you sign up, but there is no additional cost to you. I’ve been a Carbonite user for more than two years, and am very satisfied.)