10 Do’s and Dont's for Safe and Efficient Computing
The holiday season is a time of increased online activity. During the hustle and bustle that surrounds this time of year, what’s more convenient than saving a little time (and money) by shopping and buying online? You can bypass crowded stores and still find the perfect gifts, access your bank account and monitor credit card statements within minutes, and book travel arrangements to meet up with friends and family – all from the comfort of your own home.
Not only do we depend on our PCs to help us get these tasks done, we count on the fact that these transactions will be carried out effectively and securely. Before the rush of the holidays sets in, take the necessary steps to get the best performance from your PC and to be sure that you’re shopping, banking, and buying securely. Check out Lavasoft’s list of basic “do’s and dont's” for safe and efficient computing this holiday season.
- Do maintain your security software essentials to keep malware off your PC. Our regular Lavasoft News readers know the drill – updated anti-spyware and anti-virus protection, as well as a firewall, are the minimum you need.
- Do uninstall unnecessary applications and services. Keeping the amount of applications and services on your system at a minimum will make you less vulnerable to an attack.
- Do get your PC tuned up. Keep your PC running as it should by taking care of errors in the Windows Registry. Registry debris and errors are commonly caused by applications that fail to clean registry entries, and even by spyware and adware.
- Do create strong passwords to keep your computer, information, and online accounts safe. Choose passwords made up of letters, numbers, and special characters.
- Do stay alert to the latest scams. Being aware of common social engineering campaigns and other types of online scams is an effective method to counter fraud. You can check for the latest news alerts on the Lavasoft blog and the Research blog.
- Don’t go online unless your PC is fully patched. Update your operating system regularly with the latest security patches from Microsoft by turning on the Windows auto-update feature. The Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer tool can also be used to pinpoint security related misconfigurations and security updates that are missing.
- Don’t click on links or open attachments in e-mail messages from unknown senders. Read the “Tips and Tactics” section in this month’s newsletter to find out a specific type of phishing threat that may land in your inbox this month: online donation scams.
- Don’t make hasty online purchases. Check out the seller, what you are buying, and the payment details before you pay. If you’re hesitant to enter your credit card details online, consider using a separate credit card with a low credit limit for online transactions. Some credit card companies also offer an “e-card” solution that gives you the ability to create a temporary card number to be used just once or with a spending limit.
- Don’t disclose personal or sensitive information online without first exercising caution. Verify why the information is needed and that it is absolutely necessary to give out. Keep in mind that security conscious banks and credit card companies will not urge users to send personal details by e-mail or ask users to login to their account via a link provided in an e-mail message – be alert to these kinds of fraudulent messages.
- Don’t shop on sites that are not secure. If the URL begins with “https://” it indicates a secure connection where the information is being encrypted. You can also check your browser window for a padlock icon, another indication that a website is secure.