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Are You Leaving Your Personal Data Vulnerable?

Leaving your computer insecure is like leaving the door open to your house. Not a very smart idea, and one that can cost you money and safety. Get your security priorities straight with these 5 tips.

Would you leave your home or business's doors unlocked and wide open? After the recent string of burglaries in town, this may not be the brightest idea.

The same is true with computers, laptops, desktops and even smartphones are now falling prey to viruses, scams and other ruses meant to trick you into giving up your valuable personal data.

If you are not using good security practice, or you have shoddy antivirus software hastilly put on the system by a big box store, you could be selling yourself short.

Here are 5 tips to stay safe in the digital world.

  1. Use good security practice

Above all, this is probably the single most important point to take into account when using the internet. That offer for a "Free iPad" by filling out a survey is nothing more than a one way ticket to spam emals and viruses. If it's too good to be true, then it probably is. Unfortunately, many (especially those who are older) fail to recognize this, and believe almost anything that may be presented to them in an online setting. Educating these vulnerable user groups is crucial.

2. Use a STRONG password

Did your password make the top 25 list of most common passwords? All too often, your common password can easily be guessed by would-be attackers. This can give them access to your accounts and potentially cause even more problems for you.

3. Get a good security solution.

Let's face it, the bloated, slow and inefficient Norton and McAfee antiviruses are just not good enough. Almost every computer that I have seen with multiple viruses has been tainted by these two. You can get good protection with a free antivirus, such as AVG or Microsoft Security Essentials. Remember, antiviruses are NOT foolproof, contrary to what many will tell you. They are just another layer of defense, and if you do not incoporate good security practice into your routines, they become nearly useless.

4. Stay up to date!

Microsoft and Apple regularly issue updates to their software, and for good reason. By installing the latest updates, you are helping keep your system in a rock-solid configuration, getting rid of vulnerabilities in the software that can potentially leave the door open for hackers and their ilk. Those updates are there for your benefit!

5. Guard your financial information.

Many people use their computers to do online banking and other tasks revolving around very sensitive information. When using these websites, make sure that at the very least you are using HTTPS (A security feature usually found on these websites), and that you are in fact dealing with a legitimate website (Some attacks involve setting up fake websites in order to get you to enter personal information, commonly called "phishing" by the security community). Stay vigilant, especially on these websites. Avoid insecure web browsers, such as older versions of Internet Explorer, and consider browsers with enhanced security features, such as Google Chrome.

By adopting some of these strategies, you can prevent you and your business from suffering embarrasing data breaches and potential loss due to security issues. The old saying about an ounce of prevention being better than a pound of cure definitely holds true here, as I've seen many "horror stories" from clients who have failed to take heed to these steps. Don't be one of them.

As always, I and my business are here to help with your computer and technology related questions. I provide everything from virus removal to professional consultations. You may wish to consider scheduling a comprehensive security consultation and system optimization, in order to make sure that these and other security practices can be professionally implemented.

We were recently voted Reader's Choice Best Computer Services in the Asbury Park Press, so you can be sure we're dependable.

Visit my website or schedule an appointment by calling (732)-820-0377

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Ryan Hardy December 11, 2012 at 03:59 PM
What about Norton?? Thats what i have on my laptop that best buy put on... why is it bad? I paid like $50 for it.
Gavin Rozzi December 12, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Norton is exceptionally bad as it uses quite a bit of resources and nags the user a lot with unnecessary notifications. It tends to cause quite a bit of stability issues in the systems that I have seen. It also has a poor detection rate for viruses, many that I've seen had infections and still had Norton, so I'd recommend you uninstall it.

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