Ways to Keep Your Computer Network and System Safe: 1-2

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Protecting your computer network isn’t as simple as IT professionals make it look. There are many factors to consider in the strategy of computer network protection. Many people feel as if there are few inexpensive do it yourself tactics in the industry of computer network protection. Those people would benefit greatly from what this article entails. There are a few steps, however, that a consumer may take that are simple enough to accomplish by themselves. They are as follows:

1. Use common sense, especially when browsing the Internet. We all know that free stuff is very tempting, but bad guys know it even better. Keep away from shiny animations promising you fortunes, or at least a free iPad. Fake security alert pop-ups, software hacks and key-gens, “no-name” applications swearing to fix all your PC issues will probably try to install malicious software, compromise your private information and join your computer to some bot-net. Never install any software from a website unless you know exactly what it is and what it does, and you actually went to that website to install it. Some websites will prompt you to install software to scan your computer for virus, to allow you watch a movie or to play a game and so on. Be wary of such things. Best practice would be to install Java, Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight from official sources to be able to access majority of on-line multimedia and disregard such prompts unless you really know what you are doing. Most of free apps out there come with some kind of add-on, toolbars and extensions which will clutter and slow down your system, try to make you buy something and track your on-line activity. If you have enough will power or dignity avoid the dark side of the Web, sites advertising hacked software or applications cracks and passwords, bittorrent trackers etc. Besides some legal issues, those sites are the place to go if you want to test your antivirus and Internet security software.

2. Apply the latest security updates to the operating system and third party applications on your machine. Usually, on the second Tuesday of each month Microsoft releases security patches. On Windows 7, click Start, type windows update and hit ‘Enter’. In the ‘Windows Update’ window, click ‘Check for updates’ to perform a scan. If your computer misses any patches you will be presented with the list of them, where you can select the ones you wish to install. This process can be automated using Windows update settings. If you need any additional info on some particular updates you can get it in corresponding Microsoft KB article. Even if you are a Mac user, regularly check for software updates. Security updates released for Mac OS X are usually incorporated into the next Mac OS X Software Update. Applications like Java, Adobe Reader, Flash Player, MS Office Suite and Web browsers are used by millions of people around the world, which makes them high-priority targets for hackers. Check for and apply security updates to them at least once a month, as well as to other software you have installed on your system