Computer Security Checklist
You can help keep your computer secure by following the guidelines below. This is not a comprehensive list, or will it help computers that are already infected with malware (viruses or spyware) or are otherwise unstable. Consider our PC Restoration solution to get a fresh start on your computer and then implement this checklist for years of trouble free computing.
Run Windows Update Regularly
Windows Updates are security patches released for your computer by Microsoft. It is vital that you install these patches as soon as they are available. You can automate the installation of Windows Updates by visiting your control panel and scheduling automatic installation. Your computer must be on at the scheduled time in order to install updates. Organizations with multiple computers can use Microsoft’s WSUS product to manage and monitor updates for all of their computers.
To learn more about Windows Updates please read our Windows Updates article.
Use anti-virus software
If you do not have any anti-virus software installed or if you subscription has expired, we recommend Trend Micro Worry Free for businesses and Microsoft’s Windows Defender (a free product) for home users. Regardless of the brand, we recommend a plain anti-virus product, and not a “suite” that includes a firewall, anti-spam, etc.
If you have anti-virus software installed then make sure it is active and up to date. Your antivirus software should also be configured to update itself automatically. We also recommend you schedule weekly scans of your entire computer.
Restrict administrative rights
Put simply, you should use your computer as a normal user and not as an administrator.
If you are using your computer as a normal user and inadvertently run some malicious software, the damage that the software can do is extremely limited. Giving an employee an account that is a normal user, and not an administrator, also automatically limits the damage they can do to a computer while still allowing them to accomplish their work duties.
To learn more normal versus administrator accounts visit our Don’t Be An Admin article.
Don’t install unnecessary software
Installing a large amount of software usually leads to system instability. You should only install applications that you will use regularly. Don’t let other people use your computer without your knowledge – they are more likely to install software since it isn’t their computer.
Even though you can uninstall most pieces of software through an automatic process, the process usually does not remove 100% of the program. You are better off not having the software installed in the first place. A normal user account (not an administrator) typically cannot install most software.
Update third-party software
Just like keeping Windows up to date is important – so is keeping your other software up to date as well.
Programs like web browsers and PDF readers are especially important. Security flaws are regularly found in these products and bad guys can exploit them to install malicious or unwanted software on your PC.
Businesses can take advantage of our Automatic Software Update service. This inexpensive solution automatically updates over 100 third party applications on all of your computers. It also installs Windows Updates if necessary.
Use caution on the Internet and with e-mail
There is no doubt that visiting “shady” websites means you are increasing your chances of becoming hit with spyware or other malicious software.
Be extremely cautious when opening attachments in your e-mail. Even if you recognize the sender you should just delete the email if it contains strange links or attachments. It is possible that an infected e-mail may arrive from someone you know. This is because the message was generated by a virus and not the individual.
Always be suspicious of email attachments – even when from someone you know. If you suspect an attachment as being malicious, reply to the sender and ask if they sent it. Businesses should have a good anti-spam and email security solution in place.
This checklist represents many best practices in order to keep your computer healthy, reliable and infection free. This checklist a minimum set of standards that we apply to every computer covered under our maintenance agreements.
Whether you are a home user or business owner you should implement this checklist. You will save money by reducing or eliminating PC repair costs and your productivity will remain consistent as your computer(s) will always be available.
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