Unfortunately the #1 cause of viruses and malware is the user – that’s you. If it was possible to take the user out of the equation, computers would be much more secure. Obviously that’s not practical so I’m going to offer you four relatively easy tips for securing your computer.
How to Secure Your Computer
Run the computer as a limited user account.
This will prevent the installation of software. Never run as an administrator. If you are, go to the control panel and create a new user with limited permissions. For you parents out there, you can create a limited account for your child and then set of parenting controls on it to set limits on the hours they can use the computer, the games they can access, and the programs they can run. For more information about setting up parenting controls in Windows 7 or Windows 8
Install updates and patches as soon as they are available.
Patches and updates are absolutely critical. Almost all of these are security related and the company that is creating the security update is essentially saying “we’ve found a security loophole and need you to install this so the bad people out there can’t access your private information. Just last week, Apple was in the news for a loophole that allowed what’s called a man in the middle attack, making operations that you think are secure (like online banking, for example) insecure. The reason it’s important to update as soon as the update is available is that the bad guys out there can immediately target users who haven’t the installed the updates and patches. Make sure you always have automatic updates turned on.
Use a router in between your computer and your cable modem.
A router is an additional line of defense. Obviously you want to make sure that the security settings are turned on. Visit GRC.com and run the SHIELDS UP! App. It will test your network to see what parts are vulnerable to attack.
You are the final line of defense.
Each user must be the final line of defense. Avoid things like clicking on unknown links, opening attachments, and going to untrusted sites.