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Computer Security Advice for 2011

Computer viruses, malware, Trojans and all sorts of evil data destructors run rampant through the data systems of the Internet, flash drives and now, even on mobile devices. Some hackers want your bank information, some want your social security number, and some just like to be mean and erase your data. Computer security should always be a priority, but with the creative ways in which these viruses and other programs are finding their ways onto innocent laptops, desktops and mobile devices, protecting your data from harm may become an increasingly important part of your daily computing tasks.

Identity theft can and does happen on a regular basis, and the process of cleaning up your identity and convincing creditors that your personal information was compromised is a huge hassle that could have potentially destructive repercussions if not taken care of. If you have any type of financial information online, always be sure to protect it to the best of your ability by creating unique passwords and changing them regularly. Experts in computer security advise that when you log-in to an online account, verify on the browser that you are logging in securely, so that your username and password combination is less likely to be transmitted to a third party.

Be aware that any program that is downloaded could contain a “keylogger,” or application that sends all of the keystrokes you make on your computer to a third party, enabling them to see your username and passwords. Computer security professionals strongly advise that you only download information from trusted websites, and use great caution when opening e-mail attachments, even if they are from someone you know. E-mail can be easily hacked and the message with a picture from your uncle could contain a virus.

If you have a wireless Internet connection in your house, configure it securely with an encrypted password to help keep out anyone who could try to access your personal information through your modem or router. If you surf the Internet regularly, choose a safe web browser and be sure to keep your firewall updated, as well as any anti-virus and spyware detectors. Ignore popups or install a pop-up blocker, as these applications can download potentially harmful viruses that compromise your computer security without your knowledge.

Get in the habit of backing up your computer data regularly. Invest in an external hard drive or you can even sign up with an online backup site. Some Internet Service Providers also include a certain amount of space on their servers for your backup needs. Some of these online providers of backup computer security can even be scheduled to run while you are not on your computer. These sites also make it easier to access your information from anywhere, instead of remembering to bring a backup device on business trips or if you work in several offices.

The security of your personal information and data is only as strong as the effort you put into keeping it safe. By eliminating the ability of hackers and programs to infiltrate your information through the use of programs, applications and common sense, your computer security concerns should be minimal.

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