The Internet can sometimes be a scary and intimidating experience to the new computer user. The potential hazards that can come with personal information or falling prey to hackers and scammers can often times be overwhelming. Luckily, there are many things that new computer users can do to avoid falling victim to these computer security concerns. Here is a look at the very basic rules everybody should know and understand before using the Internet for the first time.
The Essential Firewall and Anti-Virus/Spyware Program
Many computer users believe that since they only use the computer occasionally there is no need for firewall or antivirus software. The fact is if your computer is hooked up to the Internet you run the risk of downloading viruses, malware or worms onto your computer. A firewall or antivirus/spyware program is the first step to protecting your computer’s security. These programs can prevent a number of potential computer problems from happening in the first place as they will detect any problem before it reaches your computer.
Guard Your Password with Your Life
Your computer password can be compared to your social security number in that you never give out to anyone. This goes for all passwords, whether they are for your e-mail, bank account or computer. Should someone gain access to your security password they could potentially gain personal information such as bank account or credit card numbers and addresses that can be used for identity theft.
Basic E-Mail Concerns
To the new computer user e-mail might appear as if it is an electronic version of the snail mail. The problem is that there are potential risks that exist with e-mail that are not present old fashioned post. E-mails can contain harmful viruses and malicious software that can steal personal information or render a computer useless. This is why you should only open e-mails that come from trusted sources. You should also make sure that you do not download any unknown attachments as an attachment on e-mails is the number one way that computer users download viruses and spyware.
The Proper Way to Handle Sensitive Personal Information
The Internet and the world wide web can be filled with multiple websites that offer contests and giveaways. It is important to remember that your personal information needs to be protected online just as you would in any real life situation. This means if a contest or giveaway is asking for your bank account information, social security number and address then it is most likely a scam, and your details could fall into the wrong hands.
Authorized Sites Only
To protect your computer security and your personal information it is essential you only visit authorized and trusted websites. Viruses, worms and spyware can all be downloaded onto your computer when you visit an unauthorized or unknown website.
Following these basic computer security guidelines will allow you to use your computer and the Internet in a safe, secure way. By following these steps you will reduce your risk of downloading viruses and malicious software that could put the personal information in your computer at risk.
Don’t get pwned. (Owned, for those of you that don’t speak Warcraft-error speak.)