Good Practices for a Secure Home Computer

At work, many of us have an Information Technology colleague to make sure our computers are kept up to date and safe from malicious attackers. Unless you are fortunate enough to know an IT person outside of your workplace, you may not know what to do to keep your home computer secure.

Most home computer users are left to their own devices when it comes to trying to make sure their computer system is safe. After you have read through this course, you will have picked up a few helpful hints to help make your home computer safer.

Who are the bad guys?

Wouldn't it be great if all of the bad guys had the words, "BAD GUY!" tattooed on their forehead? The same can be said about bad computer software. However, just as in real life, you cannot always tell the good from the bad from the outside. Bad software comes in many forms, but the most common form is a computer virus. These are small computer programs that either by themselves, or in concert with other viruses, do bad things to computers. Sometimes, they only slow down the computer by making copies of themselves. Similar to a benign tumor, it gets bigger over time, but does not really hurt the person.

Other viruses may copy themselves and send those copies to other computers. Like the common cold, they spread through contact. While usually not lethal, they do make you feel bad for a while. When these viruses invade your computer, they may not destroy data, but often slow it down so much that you have to reload the software to alleviate the problem.

There are also malignant viruses. These are the Ebola of the computer virus realm. While the rarest form, they are also the most destructive. Not only do they spread from computer to computer, but they also destroy files and can damage hardware.

In the world of computers, viruses are not the only thing to worry about. Worms, Trojans, and spyware are additional malicious programs. They may spread via different methods and can be used to spy on the user's information or habits.

Other bad guys!

The other bad guys are the hackers. These are individuals who either want access to the information on your computer, or who want to use your computer's processing power for their own purposes. The first group is known as information thieves, and the latter group is commonly called hackers. Both of these groups use specially crafted programs to trick your computer into letting them have the information they desire.

So how do they trick the computer?

That is another, more advanced lesson, but they essentially lie to your computer, making it think that they are a trusted person. They then convince your computer to run their programs instead of yours.

How do I protect myself?

Well, the easiest way is to follow these basic steps:

Taking these simple steps can help ensure that your computer is safe and healthy.

These helpful tips are provided by Digital Defense, Inc., a computer security company working with your bank as a responsible member of the community to help insure the privacy and security of our nation's financial information.