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:
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.
- Automatically Install Critical Updates in Microsoft Windows
- Use Windows Update to manually install other updates
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:
- Be sure your virus definitions are up-to-date
- Save the file to your hard disk
- Scan the file using your antivirus software
- Open the file
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.