Computer and Network Support for Small Businesses
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Computer Security

Computer security is the broad term used to encompass the “safety” of the computer, server and general IT infrastructure.  It is important to be aware of potential risks associated with the safety of the computer and more specifically the data contained on the computer.

Users and businesses need to be attentive to the impact that data loss or corruptions would have on the operations if data were to be lost.  It is also important to protect access to the computer by unauthorized persons for fear of data being removed (stolen) and what the data may contain.  Invariably there is likely to be personal and private information which should not be in unauthorized hands, so protection of the data becomes critically important.

There is also the risk of virus contamination which can lead to breached computer security.  Trojan viruses, when installed on your computer can permit unauthorized access to your system and data files.  Your computer is might be threatened by the pervasive intrusion of viruses proliferated by enticing web sites and email offers and invitations.  It is important to be vigilant and discreet when clicking on link offering mostly “too good to be true” offers.  Remember, if it looks or sounds too good to be true, it usually is!

It is imperative to have a good AntiVirus program running on your computer as a first line of defense.  Also, make sure your firewall is active and if you are using a router, that only the essential ports required to access the Internet are opened.  If meeting these requirements appears to be too challenging for you, hire an IT Support Specialist to assist you.  It will cost you a few dollars but will save you many more if you don’t!

Peruse email senders and subjects before opening the email.  If you don’t recognize a sender, you are better off deleting an email rather than opening it.  Remember curiosity killed the cat… and you don’t want to be the cat!

If attachments contain files the have an extension EXE, PIF, ZIP you could be at risk.  Do not double-click (open) the file.  You are better off to use the Save Attachment option of your Email client and then running a Virus Scan on the file before you open it.  Most email clients (Outlook, Windows Mail, etc) will not permit an encapsulated EXE file within a ZIP file to be downloaded.  Likewise with EXE files.  The email clients understand the risks too.

Be sure to install updates for all your software.  These updated are invariably pushed out to “plug” security “holes” or vulnerabilities and potential exploits.  Don not wait until you are in trouble to apply the updates.  Of course, keep you AntiVirus software updated and with the latest Virus Definitions installed.

Think computer security when using your computer!  Use Effective and complex passwords, called “strong” passwords.  These will comprise of at least 8 characters and at least 1 capital letter and one number of other non-alphabet (a-z) character like exclamation, @ sign, asterisk, etc.  To make a complex password easier to remember use numbers as letters.  Here is an example: P@55w0rd – the @ sign is used as an “a” and the 5 is used as “s”.  Don’t share your passwords.  Avoid using the names of children or pets or the word “password”.  These are “gimmies” for unauthorized users.