So you’ve got a new computer and are wondering what you need to do to be secure while on-line. Computer security is a Big Thing – there’s lots of ‘bad guys’ out there trying to get in your computer, infect it or make it part of a bot-net.
Here’s what to do – in order:
1. Run Microsoft Update on a new or newly acquired computer – you want to be sure to have all the latest patches and fixes. Then turn on automatic updates.
2. You need a firewall. Vista has a pretty good one – turn it on. XP’s isn’t as robust. You could download the free version of Zonealarm and install it. I’ve used it and found it does interfere quite a bit with going about my normal business.
3. Next, install an Antivirus program. I strongly discourage Norton and McAfee. Although they have a strong brand reputation, they are memory and resource hogs and will gradually choke your system down to a crawl. I’d go with the free Microsoft Security Essentials or Nod32 from Eset (costs around $30). They do a great job and aren’t resource-hungry. Remember to install only ONE Antivirus program as they don’t play well together.
4. Then you’ll need some Anti Spyware protection. Again, there are many great free programs out there. It is OK to install more than one of these programs. I recommend and use Spybot Search & Destroy and Ad Aware. When you do your searches for these, make sure you select the listed programs. There are other programs with similar names that are out there.
5. Secure your network. If you’re wireless, be sure to set up WPA or WPA2 encryption. WEP is worthless. Directions should be with your router, or check out www.komando.com for great step-by-step information on this topic.