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Securing Your PC

1. Turn off file sharing

File sharing is one of the first things a hacker looks for to access your computer.

2. Install a firewall

Even the built-in Windows XP firewall provides a minimal layer of protection.

3. Scan for Spyware

You should scan for and remove Spyware and Adware with the following two programs:

4. Antivirus

Viruses are everywhere. Protect yourself! Programs such as Symantec AntiVirus and McAfee Virus Scan can remove viruses and even prevent you from getting one. Also make sure you update your virus definitions often!

5. Install Windows Updates

You should update your operating system frequently.  This will protect you from many of the new viruses as well as from hackers.

6. Use a Security Scanner

You should run an "outside" security scanner on your machine.

Microsoft provides the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer for this purpose.

7. Make regular backups of critical data

Keep a copy of important files on removable media such as ZIP disks or recordable CD-ROM disks (CD-R or CD-RW disks). Use software backup tools if available, and store the backup disks somewhere away from the computer.

8. Turn off your computer or disconnect from the network when not in use

Turn off your computer or disconnect its Ethernet interface when you are not using it. An intruder cannot attack your computer if it is powered off or otherwise completely disconnected from the network.

9. Don't open unknown email attachments

Before opening any email attachments, be sure you know the source of the attachment. It is not enough that the mail originated from an address you recognize. For example, the Melissa virus spread precisely because it originated from a familiar address. Malicious code might be distributed in amusing or enticing programs.  Most email servers will filter viruses in email attachments, but some still get through.  A new virus called Beagle.H bypasses many virus scanners by sending the virus in a password protected zip file. You should never open an attachment unless you know exactly what it is.

If you must open an attachment before you can verify the source, we suggest the following procedure:

For additional protection, you can disconnect your computer's network connection before opening the file.

Following these steps will reduce, but not wholly eliminate, the chance that any malicious code contained in the attachment might spread from your computer to others.

10. Don't run programs of unknown origin

Never run a program unless you know it to be authored by a person or company that you trust. Also, don't send programs of unknown origin to your friends or coworkers simply because they are amusing -- they might contain a Trojan horse program.

Turn off File Sharing - Windows XP

  1. Go to the Start menu and select the Control Panel.
  2. In the Control Panel window, double-click on Network Connections.
  3. Right-click on the Local Area Connection icon in the window that appears.
  4. From the menu that appears, choose Properties (use the left mouse button to make your selection).
  5. Under This connection uses the following items, highlight File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks. Note: If File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks is not listed, then file sharing was not set up on your computer. You may close any open windows and skip the rest of these instructions.
  6. Click Uninstall.
  7. When you are asked if you are sure you want to uninstall File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks, click Yes.
  8. Click OK or Close to close the Local Area Connection Properties window.
  9. If you are asked to restart your computer, click Yes. If you are not asked to restart your computer, from the Start menu, choose Turn Off Computer. In the Turn off computer window, click the Restart button to restart your computer.