When going back to school you used to only have to worry about pencils, notebooks, and some textbooks. Now, computers are a large part of school. The following tips to help protect your school computer from viruses, hackers, spyware, and other attacks.
1) Basic computer safety maintenance.
Before surfing the Web, you should perform three key maintenance steps to help improve the security of your computer.
2) Do not open files from strangers.
E-mail and instant messaging (IM) are great ways to communicate with others but they can also spread viruses and worms if you are not careful. Most e-mail viruses are spread by people who are fooled into opening an infected file. You should never open a file attached to an e-mail or an instant message unless you recognize the sender and you are expecting the file.
3) Help fight spam and online scams.
Besides preventing viruses and worms, you should learn how to fight spam and online scams.
Phishing is another threat to your privacy that could lead to the theft of your credit card numbers, passwords, account information, or other personal data.
4) Learn how to protect yourself from spyware.
Spyware is one of the biggest threats out there. Spyware is software that collects personal information from you without first letting you know what it is doing, and without asking for your permission. You might get spyware if you download: music or file-sharing programs, free games from sites, or other software programs from a Web site.
5) Take precautions when you go wireless.
Wireless networks are showing up everywhere -- from the school campus to the coffee shop. That means you can surf the Web from tons of convenient places, but they do come with a security risk. If you set up your own wireless network at home or in your dorm room, listen to my podcast on protecting your wireless network.
6) Password protect your computer—and lock it.
A good password is the first line of defense in protecting your computer from criminals, pranksters, or a careless roommate. If you do not use a password to log on to your computer, you need to stop that and set a password. Do not allow anyone access to your computer. Also be sure to lock your computer when you are not using it.
7) Back up your data.
The age old idea of students losing their term papers because they forgot to back up has almost become a cliché. Still, many of us do not have the time nor make the time to back up. This is probably the most critical thing to set time aside for. There are tons of backup solutions and I have covered them before in previous podcasts.