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Computer Safety Tips

From LoveToKnow Safety

When your computer slows down, acts up, or crashes, you realize the importance of computer safety tips you thought of practicing, but never implemented. It's just as important to practice safety when it comes to your identity and financial information stored on your computer, and safety for both goes hand in hand.

Safety Tips for Computer Users

 

Steps to Keep Your Computer Safe

When you think about keeping your PC safe, your thoughts probably follow along the lines of firewalls, anti-virus software, and other tools used to protect your PC from an outside attack via the web. These are all real threats, and steps should be taken to protect your computer, however for the scope of this article let's take a look at computer safety tips from the user side of the screen. Remember the days when people left homes unlocked without a worry? Unfortunately, there aren't many places like that anymore, and when the unforeseen theft strikes an unsuspecting household, the people say, "Things like this just don't happen here." In reality, if those people had taken steps to secure their homes, the theft would never have occurred. Today many people lock their homes and even install security systems for protection. With all the information stored on your computer, you should take the same precautions for your PC.

 

Protect Your Password

Would you give a burglar the key to your safety deposit box and tell him your account number is hidden somewhere in the room? Of course not. When you turn on your computer, a dialog box appears asking for the key to get in. Your password is that key. If you tell your computer to remember your passwords, it's like hiding the key under a rock on the front stoop where everyone will think to look for it. Whoever wants to get only has to click the mouse, and the door opens. While it may be inconvenient to type in your password each time you sign onto your computer, the purpose of the password is to keep your computer and the information on it secure. Don't write it on a sticky note to plaster on the wall beside your computer, or think it's safe in the drawer of your desk. Choose something you will remember and never write it down. And don't think leaving the password blank is a clever way to get around using one. What many people don't realize is that malware programs can find systems with blank passwords and gain access. A password is your first line of defense to keep the information on your computer safe. For this reason, it is important to choose a password that isn't easy to figure out, but yet is a cinch for you to remember. For example, never use your login name, spouse's name, child's name or your initials. Other information that would be tried by a hacker would include things like: *       license plate numbers *       telephone numbers *       Social Security numbers *       brand of your car *       pet’s name *       favorite band *       favorite sports team *       name of your street *       favorite hobby With that in mind, here is what you should do when choosing a password: Choose a password consisting of upper and lower case letters, numbers and one non-alpha character like: @#$%&*(. Password should be 8 characters or more. Pick a password that's easy for you to remember. For example (Fifty5Ford). It is more than 8 characters, contains upper and lower case letters, a number and non-alpha characters—the parentheses. However, if you have a hard time finding the parenthesis without looking at the keyboard, the (Fifty5Ford) would not be a good choice for you. You'll want to pick something that's easy for you to type which makes it harder for a bystander watching from over your shoulder to pick up on what you type in.

Upkeep Computer Safety Tips

Along with learning to keep the proverbial door to your PC locked with a password, there are a few other computer safety tips to put into practice to keep your computer safe and running its best: *       Keep Your Operating System Up-to-date Keep security programs up-to-date (in most cases they can be set to update automatically, but it's up to you to make sure that it is happening) *       Keep your computer clean Back up your computer regularly. If something happens to your computer, it can be devastating to lose all your files. Back up means just that—you have a back up copy of your files in case something happens to your computer. However, your back up is only as good as how recent it is. If you backed up three weeks ago and your computer crashes, you'll have lost three weeks of information. Don't eat or drink at your computer (this not only risks damage to your keyboard or other hardware, it is also a good way to gain unwanted pounds.)

 

Source:  VPMA Safety Committee

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