Get Safe Online Week
Today is the start of the fourth annual Get Safe Online week; a campaign founded by the British Government, HSBC, SOCA and Microsoft, with the aim to raise awareness of internet safety issues.
This overall objective of the campaign is to encourage everyone to take some time out of their week to learn more about internet safety and to make sure that their computer is properly protected.
The risks are grave but prevention is easy. A few hours is all you need and it's a small price to pay compared to the huge hassle of dealing with viruses, identity theft and online fraud.
Online criminals are trying to attack your computer, either to steal from you or to attack other people. Either way, it will stop your computer working properly. They use self-replicating viruses and spyware. It costs them nothing so they don't care how many people are affected or what the damage is.
You need a multi-layered defence to keep them out:
- Security software: anti-virus, anti-spyware and a firewall or security suite that includes all three. This is like keeping your doors and windows locked at home.
- Keeping your computer up to date, blocking spam emails and using an up to date web browser will make it harder for them to get into your PC in the first place.
- Making a regular backup of your music, pictures and other files is also a good idea, but it's a last resort like insurance.
- It's also a good idea not to use your computer in administrator mode. It's better to make a user account and log in with that for day-to-day use. In Microsoft Windows Vista, keep User Account Control switched on.
- Lastly, protect yourself against eavesdroppers and freeloaders by using encryption on your wireless network.