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10 crisp and free computer security enhancements you must have

By Debjit on July 26th, 2009 

web_security-courtesy: firewall-blogComputer security is one of the foremost priorities of both casual and professional users alike. Nowadays organizations spend millions of dollars assessing their network strength and security and carrying forward changes as required. But, spending such huge amount is really not feasible for home users. So, here are some tips on how you could use the freely available online secuirty tools to leverage a perfect security setup to your home machine. Read on.

1. Check Windows Update and Office Update regularly. Windows Me, 2000, and XP users can configure automatic updates. Click on the Automatic Updates tab in the System control panel and choose the appropriate options. Vista and Windows 7 users can select Updates from the control panel. Note, if you are visiting the microsoft product update sites from Mozilla Firefox, you might get notification which will ask you to use Internet Explorer.

2. Install a good antivirus program. Avast and Avira are the best available in the market for free. Avast is recommended as it provides fast updates and responds quickly to virus attack / outbreaks. Avast Antivrus is available for Linux platforms too. If you can shell out cash on this, we would recommend you NOD32 from Eset.

3. Install a personal firewall. Free Firewall versions for home usage are provided by SyGate, ZoneAlarm and Comodo. Keep track of the updates. These days updates are also notified via RSS feeds. So, it is wise to subscribe to one of the update notification feeds.

4. Install a spyware blocker. Make sure that you regularly update your spyware blocker.  Spybot - Search & Destroy is by far the best available in the market. The best part is it all comes for free.

5. Install and Use a good Web Browser. We would recommend you a switch from Internet Explorer to Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. If you already are using Mozilla firefox then you must install the Adblock Plus Ad-Blocker, NoScript to stop execution of any potentially harmful javascripts. You should also install Sandboxie, which runs your programs in an isolated space which prevents them from making permanent changes to other programs and data in your computer.Google Chrome has Sanbox feature enabled by default.

6. Block pop-up spam messages in Windows NT, 2000, or XP by disabling the Windows Messenger service (this is unrelated to the instant messaging program). Open Control Panel | Administrative Tools | Services and you'll see Messenger. Right-click and go to Properties. Set Start-up Type to Disabled and press the Stop button. Bye-bye, spam pop-ups! Any good firewall will also stop them.

security-courtesy:the age7. Use strong passwords and change them periodically. Passwords should have at least six characters as a safety issue; use letters and numbers and have at least one symbol. A very nice example would be t%6Y_u&5fT. Complex passwords will make it much harder for anyone to gain access to your accounts.

8. You should use Mozilla Thunderbird as your default mail client along with available security extensions. If you're using Outlook or Outlook Express, use the current version or one with the Outlook Security Update installed. The update and current versions patch numerous vulnerabilities.

9. Use MAC filtering, turn off SSID broadcast, and use WEP key protection with the biggest key you can think of if you are using a Wireless Network.Such networks are known to be easily susceptible to eavesdropping and hacks.

10. Subscribe to a good wiresless security blog or a good web security mailing list so that you can stay up-to-date with current online security scenario and act accordingly.

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10 crisp and free computer security enhancements you must have was originally published on on February 17, 2009 - 10:04 pm (Indian Standard Time)