1. Perform basic computer safety maintenance
Before you surf the Web, you should perform three key maintenance steps to help improve the computer's security. Visit Protect ur computer in 4 steps:
Use an Internet firewall.
Update your computer.
Use up-to-date antivirus software.
|•||Use up-to-date antispyware software.|
2. Don't open files from strangers
E-mail and instantmessaging (IM) can spread viruses and worms if you aren't careful.(Most e-mail viruses are spread by people who are tricked into openingan infected file.)
You should never open a file attached to ane-mail or an instant message unless you recognize the sender and youare expecting the file.
3. Help fight spam and online scams
You can use technology to help keep junk e-mail from deluging your screen.Phishing is another threat to your privacy that could lead to the theftof your credit card numbers, passwords, account information, or other personal data.
4. Learn how to protect yourself from spyware
If your Webbrowser has been taken over by pop-up ads, or there are toolbars onyour computer that you didn't download intentionally, your computermight be running spyware.
Spyware is software that collectspersonal information from you without first letting you know what it'sdoing, and without asking for your permission.
You might getspyware if you download music or file-sharing programs, free games fromsites you don't trust, or other software programs from a suspicious Website.
If your computer is running Windows Vista you have spyware protection built-in.
5. Take precautions when you go wireless
Many high schooland college campuses have wireless networks, so you can surf the Web inthe library, cafeteria, or a classroom.
These networks areconvenient, but they do come with a security risk. If you set up yourown wireless network at home or in your dorm room and pay special attention to the section on wireless network security.
7. Back up your work
The image of students losing their termpapers because they forgot to back up their work has almost become acliché. Still, many of us don't have the time to back up.
If you use Windows Vista read Windows Vista Features Explained: Complete PC Backup. If you use Windows XP, you can let the Backup Utility do the work for you. To find out how, read Windows XP Backup Made Easy or try Windows Live OneCare, which offers easy backup and restore.
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