How To Protect From Cybercrime

If the cybercrime situation is so dire, what can an average person do about it? I present the four-legged chair of computer security. Without all four legs, your computer's defenses could collapse.

  • Antivirus software
    You know this; what you may not know is that antivirus alone does not catch every threat.

  • Anti-spyware software
    Spyware is software you don't want, similar to viruses but using different tactics. Adware, malware, keyloggers, Trojan horses, they all fit into the category of spyware.

  • Firewall
    Just like a fire door in a hospital, a firewall keeps out Internet nasties that try to sneak under the radar of antivirus and anti-spyware software.

  • Regular updates ("patches")
    Every program has bugs, and these bugs can be used by viruses to manipulate your computer. Harden your security defenses by keeping your software up-to-date.
At home, you're your own computer security czar. Run a full-fledged security suite, and install a firewall for extra protection. (See the sidebar, right, for suggestions.) Remember, you must purchase security software yearly, and update it every few days. And don't forget those patches! For Windows I like a combination of Microsoft Update plus Secunia's Personal Software Inspector. Mac users, be sure to check for new patches via Apple's Software Updates, Adobe Updater and the other update features of your software.

If you have a company-owned computer, talk to your IT department about the protections that are installed. Find out if your corporate network prevents laptops from logging on unless the laptop has updated security. You can also explore one-time password systems, or biometric options like the fingerprint scanners now built in to most laptops.

Do you have questions about protecting yourself from cybercrime? Ask them here (click Comments below any article), and be sure to sign up for the email version of Tech Tips for bonus tips and product reviews.

Posted byTriona Guidry at 8:49 AM  

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