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July 3, 2009 23:03 - Adopting Good Security Habits

There are a few simple habits you can adopt which can dramatically reduce the access other people have to your computer information or the loss of it due to corruption...

Although it may be pretty easy to identify people who could gain physical access to your computer, such as family, roommates and co-workers, identifying the people who could gain access to your computer remotely is a lot more difficult.

This is the case when you are connected to a network -- you are particularly vulnerable to someone or something else accessing or corrupting your information. So, what can you do to minimize the risks?
  1. Lock Your Computer
    Even if you only step away from your computer for a few minutes, it's enough time for someone else to destroy or corrupt your information. Locking your computer prevents another person from being able to simply sit down at your computer and access all your information.
  2. Internet Connections
    Technologies such as DSL and cable modems have made it possible for users to be online all the time, but this convenience comes with risks. The likelihood that attackers or viruses scanning the network for available computers will target your computer becomes much higher if your computer is always connected. So, when not using your computer, always disconnect from the Internet by disabling your wireless connection, turning off your computer or modem, or disconnecting cables. And don't forget... when you are connected, always use an enabled firewall.
  3. Security Settings
    It is important to examine the security settings of your software, such as browsers and email programs. Enabling certain features to increase convenience or functionality, may leave you more vulnerable to being attacked. Select options that meet your needs without putting you at increased risk.
Sometimes the threats to your information aren't from other people but from natural or technological causes. Although there is no way to control or prevent these problems, you can prepare for them and try to minimize the damage...
  1. Power Surges
    Protect your computer against power surges and brief outages by using power strips which offer an uninterruptible power supply when there are power surges or outages. When there is lightning in your area, shut down your computer and unplug from the power socket.
  2. Back Up Data
    Ever experienced losing one or more files due to an accident, a virus or worm, a natural event, or a problem with your equipment? Regularly backing up your data on a CD or network reduces the stress and consequences that result from losing important information.

    Determining how often to back up your data is a personal decision. If you are constantly adding or changing data, you may find weekly backups to be the best alternative; if your content rarely changes, you may decide that your backups do not need to be as frequent

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