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5 Tips for Securing Your Personal Computer

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness month.

(October 17, 2011) - Below are tips to help you stay safe online:


1. Keep your firewall turned on: Firewalls provide protection against outside attackers by shielding your computer or network from malicious or unnecessary Internet traffic.


2. Always use good passwords for your PC:

• Don't use passwords that are based on personal information that can be easily accessed or guessed

• Don't use words that can be found in any dictionary of any language

• Develop a mnemonic for remembering complex passwords

• Use a combination of lowercase and capital letters, numbers, and special characters

• Use passphrases when you can

• Use different passwords on different systems

• Use at least 8 characters

• Change your password periodically


3. Keep all your software and your operating system up-to-date: Many vulnerabilities on a computer can be avoided with a few simple updates. Updating your software also helps with bug fixes in the software and addition of new features from the software developer.


4. Install Anti-Virus Software: Anti-virus software can identify and block many viruses before they can infect your computer. Once you install anti-virus software, it is important to keep it updated. While antivirus software, regardless of which package you choose, increases your level of protection, nothing can guarantee the security of your computer. Antivirus software is limited in its ability to protect your computer because it can only detect viruses that have signatures installed on your computer


5. Secure your wireless network at home: Wireless networks have gotten easy enough to set up that many users simply plug them in and start using the network without giving much thought to security. Nevertheless, taking a few extra minutes to configure the security features of your wireless router or access point is time well spent.


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