With the numerous instances of viruses, worms, Trojans, and spyware that can threaten your computer, to not be fully protected is to invite trouble. Your computer, although a marvel of technology, can also become the channel of significant problems when connected to the Internet.
You are likely already familiar with email worms that meander their way through millions of computers over a short period of time. Well, obviously, you do not want to be one of those people. To avoid this you need to make sure you follow the following tips to protect your own computer from threats via the Internet.
One practical and very simple tip to protecting your computer is to simply update your Windows operating system (OS) when new releases are stabilized. Even if you have the new Vista OS, Microsoft routinely develops updates for bug fixes, enhancements, and other threats.
Most computers automatically download updated software when there is something new. However, you can still go to the Microsoft web site to ensure you have the most recent updates. This is one of your best ways to ward off security threats that may be lurking near your PC.
Another simple tip to protecting your computer is to increase the security levels on your Internet browser. If you use Microsoft Internet Explore, you can click on the Tools dropdown option, and then click the Internet Options section, and then finally the Security tab; there you will see your level of protection for the Internet, Local intranet (if you are on one), Trusted sites, and Restricted sites. There you can make selections based on either the default settings the PC is shipped with, or you can consult with someone comfortable with computer security for advice on appropriate settings that will simultaneously not be too restrictive for your computing needs.
Under the Privacy tab, if the security is not at least Medium-High, you may want to consider changing it. Medium simply does not offer the protection you typically need for your computer. Having it set for Medium-High will keep out most harmful programs. It will also help prevent annoying pop up ads and other attachments that may show up containing a virus.
Additionally, you need to use some common sense. Make sure you always think carefully before opening any attachments from people you do not know. The same goes for emails as well as clickable links. If you are not already familiar with the content that has arrived, then it is not important enough to click and take the chance of ruining your computer. When you receive an attachment in an email message, you should have it assessed with virus scanning software before opening the file.
Lastly, if you receive something that looks suspicious, just put it into your junk folder so it can be deleted properly. No email is so important that you need to risk your computer and data over it.
By taking these steps, your computer should remain relatively safe from cyber threats. As long as you ensure your security programs are routinely updated, you can rest fairly comfortably that you will not be the next victim who loses critical computer data.