The following tips are offered to help secure computer files:
· Be careful if you share files: File-sharing can pose several risks. When connected to a file-sharing network, you may allow others to copy files you didn't intend to share. You might download a virus or bit of spyware that makes your computer vulnerable to hackers.
· Parental Control: Don't let your children risk your family's privacy. Make sure they know how to use the Internet safely. For younger children, install parental control software that limits the Web sites kids can visit. But remember - no software can substitute for parental supervision.
· Install a firewall: A firewall is a software program or piece of hardware that blocks hackers from entering and using your computer. A firewall blocks communications to and from sources you don't permit.
· Use Anti-virus Software: Anti-virus software protects your computer from viruses that can destroy your data, slow down or crash your computer, or allow spammers to send email through your account. Anti-virus protection scans your computer and your incoming email for viruses, and then deletes them. In addition, make sure that the software is continually running and checking your system for viruses, especially if you are downloading files from the Web or checking your email.
· Use Anti-Spyware Software: Spyware is software installed without your knowledge or consent that can monitor your online activities and collect personal information while you surf the Web. Spyware protection is included in some anti-virus software programs. Check your anti-virus software documentation for instructions on how to activate the spyware protection features. You can buy separate anti-spyware software programs. Keep your anti-spyware software updated and run it regularly.
· Manage your system and browser to protect your privacy: To protect your computer and the information on it, put the security settings in your system and browser at medium or higher. Update your system and browser regularly, taking advantage of automatic updating when it's available.
· Use a strong password - and keep it to yourself: Protect your computer from intruders by choosing passwords that are hard to guess. Use strong passwords with at least eight characters, a combination of letters, numbers and special characters. Don't use a word that can easily be found in a dictionary. Some hackers use programs that can try every word in the dictionary.
· Secure your wireless network: If you use a wireless, be sure to take precautions to secure it against hackers. Encrypting wireless communications is the first step. Choose a wireless router with an encryption feature and turn it on.