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Protect your computer in 4 steps.
Step 1. Keep your firewall turned on
A firewall is a software program or piece of hardware that helps screen out hackers, viruses, and worms that try to reach your computer over the Internet.
A firewall helps protect your computer from hackers who might try to delete information, make your computer crash, or even steal personal information such as passwords or credit card numbers. You should make sure your firewall is always turned on.
if you have a small-office network, it is important to protect every computer. You should have a hardware firewall (such as a router)
How Firewalls Work
When someone on the Internet or on a network tries to connect to your computer, the attempt is called an "unsolicited request." When your computer gets an unsolicited request, Firewalls block the connection. If you run a program such as an instant messaging program or a multiplayer network game that needs to receive information from the Internet or a network, the firewall asks if you want to block or unblock (allow) the connection.
Step 2. Keep your operating system up-to-date
High priority updates are critical to the security and reliability of your computer. They offer the latest protection against malicious online activities. Microsoft provides new updates, as necessary, on the second Tuesday of the month.
Automatic Updates is the easiest, most reliable way to help protect your computer from the latest Internet threats by delivering security updates right to your computer automatically.
Step 3. Use updated antivirus software
Viruses are usually malicious software. You need antivirus technology to help prevent viruses, and you need to keep it regularly updated.
Here are a few primary indicators that your computer might be infected:
Your computer runs more slowly than normal
Your computer stops responding or locks up often
Your computer crashes and restarts every few minutes
Your computer restarts on its own and then fails to run normally
Applications on your computer don't work correctly
Disks or disk drives are inaccessible
You can't print correctly
You see unusual error messages
You see distorted menus and dialog boxes
Step 4. Use updated antispyware technology
Spyware is usually malicious software. You need antispyware technology to help prevent spyware, and you need to keep it regularly updated.
Spyware is a general term used to describe software that performs certain behaviors such as advertising, collecting personal information, or changing the configuration of your computer, generally without appropriately obtaining your consent first.
Internet Safety Guidelines
Recognize phishing scams and fake e-mails
Phishing is a type of deception designed to steal your valuable personal data, such as credit card numbers, passwords, account data, or other information.
Con artists might send millions of fraudulent e-mail messages that appear to come from Web sites you trust, like your bank or credit card company, and request that you provide personal information.
Internet Safety Guidelines
How to handle suspicious e-mail
If you think you've received a phishing e-mail message, do not respond to it.
Report suspicious e-mail to the faked or "spoofed" organization.
Contact the organization directly—not through the e-mail you received—and ask for confirmation. Or call the organization's toll-free number and speak to a customer service representative. Report the e-mail to the proper authorities, including the FBI, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Anti-Phishing Working Group. For more information on how to report phishing scams, read What to do if you've responded to a phishing scam.
Don't click links in e-mail messages.
Internet Safety Guidelines(continued)
If you need to update your account information or change your password, visit the Web site by using your personal bookmark or by typing the URL directly into your browser.
Check the security certificate before you enter personal or financial information into a Web site.
Links in phishing e-mail messages often take you to phony sites that encourage you to transmit personal or financial information to con artists. Avoid clicking a link in an e-mail message unless you are sure of the destination. Even if the address bar displays the correct Web address, don't risk being fooled. Con artists can display a fake URL in the address bar on your browser. Type addresses directly into your browser or use your personal bookmarks.
Make sure the site is secure before you type.
Anti-spam and anti-phishing technologies
Microsoft Phishing Filter
Use e-mail software that filters spam
Look at some of the key phrases used to get you to respond to a fake email.
Watch for Key Phishing Words
"Verify your account.“
"If you don't respond within 48 hours, your account will be closed.“
"Dear Valued Customer.“
"Click the link below to gain access to your account.“
Slightly modified URLs
Protect your personal information
Create strong passwords
Make it lengthy
Combine letters, numbers, and symbols
Avoid your login name
Test your password at http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security...ecker.mspx
Use online payment services
Use a third-party payment service to pay for things online
Beyond the basics, how to protect yourself and your data.
Social engineering is a way for criminals to gain access to your computer. The purpose of social engineering is usually to secretly install spyware or other malicious software or to trick you into handing over your passwords or other sensitive financial or personal information.
Use Strong Passwords
Recognize Spam and Phishing
Phishing” is a form of Internet fraud that aims to steal valuable information such as credit cards, social security numbers, user IDs and passwords
Refers to the stealing of personal identifiers such as Pin numbers, Credit card numbers and passwords via a spoof web site or email.
Unsolicited, unwanted, irrelevant, or inappropriate messages, especially commercial advertising in mass quantities
Spam also eats up a lot of network bandwidth
Mobile devices and wireless5 safety tips for using a public computer
Don't save your logon information. Always log out of Web sites by clicking "log out" on the site. It's not enough to simply close the browser window or type in another address
Don't leave the computer unattended with sensitive information on the screen.
Erase your tracks
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