Last week I received several emails from readers who wanted me to write again about computer safety since many got a computer for Christmas. Therefore, I pulled some information from one of our crime prevention partners, The National Crime Prevention Council, and here are tips you need to take seriously whether you are a senior or a parent:
• Use anti-virus software and keep it up-to-date. The software is designed to protect your computer against known viruses but, with new viruses emerging daily, anti-virus programs need regular updates. Check with the website of your anti-virus software company to see sample descriptions of viruses and to get regular updates for your software. I do updates on my computer every other day.
• Don’t open emails or attachments from unknown sources. Be suspicious of any unexpected email attachments even if they appear to be from someone you know. Should you receive a suspicious email, the best thing to do is to delete the entire message, including any attachment.
• Protect your computer from Internet intruders by using firewalls. These create a protective wall between your computer and the outside world. They come in two forms, software firewalls that run on your personal computer and hardware firewalls that protect a number of computers at the same time. Firewalls also ensure that unauthorized persons can’t gain access to your computer while you’re connected to the Internet.
• Use hard-to-guess passwords. Mix upper case, lower case, numbers or other characters, and make sure your passwords are at least eight characters long. Don’t share your password and don’t use the same password in more than one place. Don’t use your maiden name or the names of your mother, your children or your spouse’s family. Those are easy to figure out.
• Disconnect your computer from the Internet when not in use. This lessens the chance that someone will be able to access your computer. Also, if you haven’t kept your anti-virus software up to date or don’t have a firewall in place, someone could infect your computer or use it to harm someone else on the Internet.
• Check your security on a regular basis. You should evaluate your computer security at least twice a year.
• Back up your computer data on a thumb drive, just in case we have a hurricane, you can take it with you. There is nothing worse than losing pictures, information and work when a computer crashes.
Last, I want to remind all parents, if you gave a computer to your child, no matter what age, please make sure that the computer is somewhere you can see it.
In closing, I want to wish everyone a blessed 2013, I wish you the best of health and happiness!
With that said, I must remind everyone that there are crazy people out there that like to shoot guns into the air, a deadly habit, therefore the first shot fired you hear please call the police immediately. You might think it’s fire crackers, but it may not be so please stay away from windows or outside at midnight. Remember what goes up must come down, and that is when people get hurt.
Have a great week!