What Can I Do To Protect My Computer?

Help protect your information and investment with these simple tips.

  1. Don’t click on pop-up ads that advertise anti-virus or anti-spyware programs.  Even though pop-up ads are used for valid advertising they can also be used for malicious purposes, like getting you to install fake security programs. If you are interested in a security product, search for it and visit its homepage, don’t get to it through a pop-up ad.

  2. Use and regularly update firewalls, anti-virus, and anti-spyware programs.  It is very important to use and keep these programs updated regularly so they can protect your computer against the most recent threats. If possible, update them automatically and at least daily.

  3. Properly configure and patch operating systems, browsers, and other software programs.  Keep your system and programs updated and patched so that your computer will not be exposed to known vulnerabilities and attacks.

  4. Turn off ActiveX and Scripting, or prompt for their use.  ActiveX controls are small programs or animations that are downloaded or embedded in web pages, which will typically enhance functionality and user experience. Many types of malware can infect your computer when you simply visit a compromised site and allow anything to run from the website, such as ads. Turning off ActiveX and Scripting can help protect your computer if you inadvertently browse to or are unwillingly redirected to a malicious site. (You can limit the functionality of your Internet browser through its configuration choices, but be sure to look for a guide if you are unfamiliar with how to limit scripting and active contents.)

  5. Keep backups of important files.  Sometimes cleaning infections can be very easy; sometimes they can be very difficult.  You may find that an infection has affected your computer so much that the operating system and applications need to be reinstalled. In cases like this it is best to have your important data backed up already so you can restore your system without fear of losing your data.

  6. Regularly scan and clean your computer.  If your organization already has configured this on your computer, do not disable it. If you need to scan your computer yourself, schedule regular scans in your programs. Also, several trusted anti-virus and anti-spyware vendors offer free scans and cleaning. Access these types of services from reputable companies and from their webpage, not from an unexpected pop-up.

For more information, please visit:

Staying Safe Online: www.staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/
Malware/Spyware: www.onguardonline.gov/topics/spyware.aspx