Two months ago Charlotte Street Computers was featured on Asheville’s WLOS on the early morning TV show to discuss PC Security. We’ve received some requests for details from early risers who saw that show. Below are some of the key points we made at that time:
1) Visit www.microsoft.com/security
This website is an EXCELLENT resource for information about security on the PC, as well a safe place to download the free Microsoft Security Essentials software. (This free software from the company that makes your Windows Operating System leaves you with no excuse for NOT having a decent, up-to-date Anti-Virus program).
By the way, if you decide to change your anti-virus software follow this order:
1) Download the new software from a trusted location,
2) Uninstall the old software,
3) Run the installer that you downloaded in step one.
(Two Anti-virus software packages are NOT better than one.)
Back up your important stuff!
2) Keep these things up to date:
2a) Windows software is kept up to date with Microsoft’s Automatic Updates. Get familiar with what that looks like while things are working well. Update and Restart when advised.
2b) Adobe Flash, Acrobat Reader & Java: These programs are necessary for normal use, but are known targets of the bad guys for vulnerabilities. Updates address these vulnerabilities.
2c) Your Antivirus “virus definitions” (these are updated almost daily).
2d) Keep your internet browser of choice up to date. The major browsers are building in more features to protect against fake web-sites.
2e) Back up your important stuff!
3) Know WHAT anti-virus software you have by name (for example: Norton, McAfee, Kaspersky, Microsoft and AVG). This is important because if you are browsing and some impressive looking “SuperDuperSecure 2012″ (or other such fake software) pops up and says you are infected, but this is not the name of your anti-virus program, you should immediately quit the web browser you are in. Many viruses get in by scaring people into clicking buttons that will actually launch the virus…Know how to quit with the keyboard command (“Alt+F4“). Also… Back up your important stuff!
4) Navigate to your financial institutions from your web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, or Chrome) yourself, not from links in email. The advice also applies with Facebook, webmail accounts, etc. If you do use an email link, LOOK carefully at the web address it takes you to. Most institutions will not ask for your account information from an email.