Computer Security For Beginners

  • Don’t put any information that you don’t want exposed on any computer system that is connected to anything. Consider using a second computer that is not connected or a portable USB drive that can be unplugged or encrypted.
  • Don’t connect any computer system to any other system or network of system without considering possible negative consequences.
  • When you need to connect a computer system to another system or network, use some form of protection like a personal firewall. Don’t drill holes in the firewall if you don’t know what you’re doing.
  • When you need to connect a computer system to another system or network, use some form of protection like anti-virus (A/V) software. Make sure your A/V software is updated regularly with fresh signatures for malware.
  • Don’t click on links without considering the source that supplied the link. Remember that banks and financial institutions will rarely send you a link and ask you to click on it. If somebody sends you a link that you are not sure about, consider typing in the known safe URL address instead of clicking on the link. (if your bank sends you a link that appears to be to “bank.com” don’t click on it, instead type in “bank.com” in your browser)
  • Don’t download files from unknown sources. Even if the source is known, consider how likely it is that the source might have been compromised. Even if the source is considered to be safe, think about what you have to lose if the download is malicious.
  • Never use the same password on two different locations.
  • Always use long and complex passwords or pass phrases.
  • Never share passwords.
  • Be careful about giving out the information that allows you to recover a lost password. Don’t post your date of birth in public places. Don’t use simple parts of personal information for pins like part of your address, phone number or social security number. Hackers will guess at these things first.
  • Always remember that the internet is a big and dangerous environment, with plenty of dark alleys and shady operators eager to take advantage of unsuspecting marks.
  • Don’t assume your computer system is safe unless you think you know every means of penetration that exists and have implemented measures to prevent them that cannot be compromised. Security professionals are aware this is an impossible task.

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