by Katharine Knibbs for Techlicious
Top 5 Essential Computer Safety Tips
Five essential steps to protecting your privacy and safety against the onslaught of online criminal activity.
Computers house so much of our personal data that it’s essential to set up protective measures in case of cyber attack or mechanical failure. These five must-do steps dramatically increase the odds your computer (and your privacy) will remain safe from the latest online criminal activity and let you salvage your most important files if your computer becomes irretrievably infected.
1. Updates are not optional
Updating the software on your system, including the operating system, is an absolute necessity. If you don’t download new versions of programs like Adobe Flash, your computer is more susceptible to malware. Updates to your Windows or Mac operating system help address new threats.
To keep your Windows system up to date, you can use Windows Update to make sure you’re getting the necessary adjustments. This is usually set to update automatically, but here’s how can check to make sure.
In Windows 7, click the Start button, type “windows update” into the search box. Click on Windows Update in the results (it will be under the Program section of the results.) Click on “Change Settings” in the Windows Update window that pops up and then check to see that the Install Updates Automatically option has been selected under Important Updates section. Then choose OK to save your changes.
In Windows 8, open the Search charm, enter “turn automatic updating on or off” and then click Settings.
Microsoft issues new updates every second Tuesday of the month.
Mac OS X checks automatically for updates weekly if it has an internet connection. If it finds updates, will it use a pop up window listing the changes and asking you if you are ready to install them (which often requires a computer restart).
2. Uninstall Java
Java is a program that websites used to incorporate into their systems, but is rarely used now. Continuous security holes allowing malware to infect computers through Java makes it no longer safe to leave it on your system unless you absolutely need it. Even the Department of Homeland Security has recommended removing Java from your computer or, at least, disabling it n your browser.
We recently posted a step-by-step guide to identifying if your system has Java installed and what you need to do to remove or disable it. We cannot stress enough the importance of uninstalling Java for the health and security of your computer.
This excerpt appears with the permission of Techlicious.