Tips For Securing Home Computers
Home computers are typically not very secure and are easy to break-in. When combined with high-speed Internet connections that are always turned on, intruders can quickly find and then attack home computers. There may not be important data stored on the home computers but they are targeted by the intruders for launching attack against other computers. So it is prudent to follow some guidelines to protect home computers against any such mis-use. Following are some tips for securing home computers:
Protecting against Phishing Attacks
- Use a Firewall
Firewall serves as the primary defense against a variety of computer worms that are transmitted over Internet. It helps to protect the computer by hiding it from external users and preventing unauthorized access to the computer. Home users can use personal firewall like in-built Windows Internet Connection Firewall (ICF).
Disconnect from the Internet when not using it
- Users relying on traditional dial-up access to the Internet will likely disconnect when they are not using the connection since usage limits apply and they may only have one phone line. On the other hand, users with "always-on" broadband access services such as cable modems may be tempted to leave their computer permanently connected to the Internet. A permanent connection allows them to access their files over the Internet from a remote location. The problem is that the longer one remains connected, the longer an intruder gets time to attack the host.
- Keep up-to-date security patches and update releases for Operating System
It is mandatory since every time vulnerability is explored the Operating System vendor releases the respective patch and that has to be installed immediately after release.
- Install and keep up to date Anti virus software
Viruses can reach the computer in many different ways, through floppy disks, CD-ROMS, email, web sites, and downloaded files. It needs to be checked for viruses each time before using any of them. Anti-virus program does this automatically. Anti-virus vendors provide regular update for virus signatures, because everyday many new viruses are discovered and released, making the system prone to virus attacks and without an antivirus update, antivirus is ineffective against such attacks.
- Install and keep up to date AntiSpyware software
AntiSpyware gives the real-time protection by monitoring the system at different checkpoints. These checkpoints are triggered when programs make changes to Windows configuration. These changes can occur when user installs software on his system, or they can occur when spyware or other potentially unwanted software attempts to install on the system.
- Keep up-to-date security patches and update releases for application software
Just as new vulnerabilities appear regularly in the Operating System, so too they also appear in applications. Hence keeping applications patched is important.
- Don't install programs of unknown origin
Installing programs of unknown origin exposes the user to the possibility of running malicious code. In general, programs to be installed should have been authored by company that is trusted and the download site should be a similarly trusted source.
- Never respond to Spam
Most of spammers say in their mail to unsubscribe click here but they're lying. What they really want to do is confirm that they've got a live address. Also, if the user respond, they'll sell their addresses to every other spammer meaning user soon be flooded with even more spam.
- Don't give your email address without knowing how it will be used
- Do not visit untrusted websites
It is always recommended that the user should not visit the untrusted websites or download software's, screensavers or games etc from those untrusted sites. There is a possibility that these types of application software install some kind of malicious code on the user's system, which can be used to launch attack on other computer systems without any consent of the user.
When user receives an e-mail asking him to visit his bank's web site, it signifies the beginning of a phishing fraud. The e-mail would usually provide a link to bank's web site and ask the user to click the link. It would ask him to provide certain confidential banking information like his account number, credit card number etc., failing which his account would be doomed. There would be a sense of urgency and panic in the e-mail. This type of attack is called as phising attack.
Here is a checklist, which helps to prevent this type of attack:
- Check to see if the e-mail is indeed from your Bank and not from just any bank. If it isn't, don't click on any link/ image/ icon in the mail. Almost all banks, never ask their customers to provide their username, password, or credit card numbers.
- Never click any link given inside the e-mail message. Directly type the URL of your Bank in address field of browser. If you do not know the URL of your bank's website, take time to call immediately to your Bank to find out.
- Check the language and spelling of the text contained in the e-mail. If you find misspelled words or substandard language, conclude that it is not from your bank.
- If the e-mail urges to act immediately without delay, failing which your account will be closed down, stop reading it. It is not from your bank.
- Never provide your personal information to anybody, come what may.
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