Author Topic: 5 Steps to Securing Your Windows XP Home Computer  (Read 920 times)

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Offline Webm
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Most people are aware that there are continuing security problems with Microsoft Windows operating system and other programs. However, what most people do not realize how easy it is to significantly improve the safety of your equipment and reduce the likelihood of falling victim to increasingly sophisticated threats lurking on the Internet. These steps should take less than a couple of hours to complete and should not be cleaning your wallet.

1) Windows Update - the first crucial step to take to ensure that all applications have all the latest Microsoft product updates installed. These updates or "patches" security vulnerabilities and address other issues. Microsoft usually issues these updates on a monthly cycle. Visit the Microsoft website or change the automatic updates from the Windows control panel. Even if your "new" second-hand equipment is still a critical first step. If you buy a used computer with Windows XP make sure the Service Pack 2 or Service Pack 2 installed.

2) passwords - people often overlook this, but well thought through passwords is an important element of computer security. A strong password should include at least 8 characters with a mixture of text, symbols and numbers. At a minimum it is necessary to ensure that services most at risk have a login password. These services include a bank, credit card, other financial services like PayPal, your e-mail and other services such as eBay, which hackers can use to generate profits.

3) Virus Protection - whether it is fair to say that the threat of computer viruses has declined over the last couple of years they can still cause serious damage to your computer. Part of the reason that the threat has been reduced due to PC manufacturers are now more frequent anti-virus packages group in their new equipment. For example last year my new Dell comes with a 90-day trial of McAfee Internet Security Suite. The best option here is to buy a security package that includes firewall and antivirus software at least. The best brands are McAfee and Symantec Norton. However, Microsoft has recently entered the market with their "OneCare" offering which is very aggressive prices.

4) Firewall - if you are using a broadband connection after a firewall is definite requirement to handle the traffic that flows between your computer and the Internet. A firewall monitors incoming Internet traffic passes through the ports of your computer. Best products also control outbound traffic from your computer to the Internet. As above the best option here is to buy a firewall application as part of a security package that most vendors offer standard. If a hardware firewall is included as part of the package router, then you do not need anything else. A company called Zone Labs offers a great free product called Zone Alarm firewall to be used as a minimum. Windows XP does now come with a free firewall, but the product does not control outbound communication and therefore I think we do not offer adequate protection.

5) Anti-Spyware Tool - this software is the last part of your basic Internet security settings. This tool helps combat spyware and adware. There is a good mix of free and paid versions offer. Good free software including Microsoft Windows Defender, Spybot S & D and Ewido Anti-Malware. Ewido Anti-Malware is often recommended in forums for computer support. Be careful if you decide to purchase a solution. There are a number of dishonest sellers must aggressively push the products they offer little value. Stick to the trusted names like Webroot Spy Sweeper or Spyware Doctor is PC Tool. These products always go well in independent tests.


 

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