Computer safety checklist
Windows and Mac computers require a combination of in-built features and additional measures to help to give confidence in the safety of using them. Below are my recommendations for preparing the baseline security of your computer.
Windows machines demand a greater emphasis on anti-virus protection because of the large number of threats written for them.
- Antivirus and firewall: check the settings on your Windows computer, or visit this page for your Mac computer
- Windows only: Run a ‘second opinion’ scan with Malwarebytes Anti-malware occasionally
- Browser security: extensions such as WOT and Adblock reduce your risk of meeting with avoidable website threats
- Ccleaner: while not strictly a safety point, Ccleaner removes tracking cookies during its tidying process.
It seems obvious that passwords should be both secure and unique to each website but how easy is this in practice?
Uniqueness is important to avoid the domino effect that occurs when you share the same password across many websites: if a hacker compromises one site, they would gain your credentials for numerous other sites. This is particularly important for high value sites such as on-line banking.
Here are some useful articles to help you to choose your preferred method of creating strong, easily remembered passwords or select a password manager.
- A brief overview of different ways to choose a password and recommendations for effective password management tools
- An interesting suggestion for remembering all your of strong passwords without a password manager
Having a backup of your device is rather like driving with a seatbelt: you do not need it until the moment an accident happens. Without a backup you have very limited options when your computer is damaged and may lose your valuable documents, photographs and music. Here is my guide to your laptop and desktop backup options.
Online safety topics
You will find useful information on the sites below covering computer-safety topics that include email scams, the curiously-named ‘money muling’ and mobile-device security.
- GetSafeOnline.Org: a general computer safety site
- SaferInternet.Org.Uk: basic security site with more bias towards teachers and child safety