FBI Nabs Three in Operation Bot Roast - Securing Your PC
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Thankfully, the large majority of computers online are not infected with software that makes them act like mindless zombies spewing spam and other nasty stuff. Assuming your computer is one of the uninfected, how do you keep it that way? Deputy Assistant Director Shawn Henry of the FBIís Cyber Division pointed out that ďItís not enough to simply bring the computer home and start surfing the Internet. Consumers have to learn how to protect their computers and make sure that their software is up to date.Ē
The FBIís web site includes a web page that explains how to protect your computer. It covers six points that should be easy for most users to remember. Some of them are ridiculously simple, like turning your computer off when youíre not using it. Itís not just a matter of saving power in this case; if you have broadband, your connection to the Internet is ďalways on,Ē which makes your computer more vulnerable to attackers. If your computer is off, it severs a potential attackerís access.
Likewise, as you remember to turn your computer off when you're not using it, you should remember to have your firewall turned on whenever the computer is on. A firewall, in case you didnít know, is hardware or software that is specifically designed to keep hackers from getting into your system. If you have multiple networked computers at your home or business, you might want to consider using a hardware router. If you only have one computer to worry about, youíll probably want to go the software route, and you might be pleased to learn that software firewalls come prepackaged with some operating systems. You can also buy them separately.
Okay, so you know to turn off your computer and turn on your firewall. You also need to watch what you download. Malicious software often shows up as email attachments. Do NOT open attachments from anyone you donít know, and be careful with attachments from people you DO know; they may be infected. And watch out for any links in your email as well. Just recently I received a link in my email that claimed to be from someone sending me an electronic greeting card. I didnít click on the link because I didnít recognize the name; I deleted the email instead. I was proven right later when my work address received similar emails from several different people I didnít recognize -- emails that were stopped by my office's superior spam filtering.
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