What is "Safe computing"?

What does practice safe computing mean?

You may have heard the term ..and always practice safe computing.. But what does safe computing really mean?

Safe computing refers to following several rules while using your computer to prevent catching a virus on your PC, or accidentally getting spyware installed on your computer without your knowledge.

List of safe-computing practices

  • Keep your operating system up to date: Whether you use Microsoft Windows or Apple Mac OS, you need to download and apply all security related updates and patches. This is easily done by using the Automatic Updates option in Control Panel for Windows, or Software Update in System Preferences for Mac OS X. If you have Windows XP Service Pack 2 or newer, you can set Automatic Update to automatically download and install all updates daily or weekly
  • Install antivirus software and make sure it is updated at least one time per month. For more information about Antivirus software, see our virus & spyware page here: GrownUpGeek's Spware and Virus page
  • Use a secure web browser: Internet Explorer is not safe to surf the web! Internet Explorer easily allows spyware to be installed on your pc without your knowledge! To read more about and download Firefox, the safe web browser, see our safe web browsers page here: GrownUpGeek's Safe Web Browser page
  • Use a hardware or software firewall, or both: A hardware firewall will help prevent hackers, and some types of internet worms from getting into your PC. A software firewall will also help prevent hackers and worms, but will also inform you of outgoing data from your PC, which could mean trouble. For more information about hardware and software firewalls, see the firewall section on our problem prevention page: GrownUpGeek's Prevent Problems page
  • Do not install questionable software: "Questionable" software includes any program that you cant verify it's source. Also stay away from free software unless you are certain that it is spyware-free. Most free software available on the internet today includes hidden spyware.
  • The most important rule of Safe Computing

  • Above all other rules of safe computing, the most important safe computing practice is DO NOT OPEN EMAIL ATTACHMENTS THAT YOU ARE NOT EXPECTING: This is both the most important, and yet most difficult safe computing practice for most new eMail users follow. The fact is that spyware and viruses spread more by email than by any other method. Even if you know the sender, the attachment may not be safe! For more information on eMail attachment viruses and how they spread, see our virus page: GrownUpGeek's Virus page.




So far as Microsoft updates are concerned. The best option is to set your updates so that you are notified of them but I would not automatically download and install them as most home computers have no use for many of the updates. It is best to click " custom " and then choose what you need. If an update tells you that something has been found which could allow an attacker to take control of your computer but it doesn't tell you what the problem could be, you may want to just install one or two as I do.
Anti-Virus updating at once per month is not nearly enough. Go for at least once per week if not twice per week. Mine has updates at least every other day.
No matter what Microsoft does to IE, it will never be safe enough for Internet surfing so Firefox is one of the best alternative browsers, Opera being another.
Watch your choice of firewalls because most of them do not tell you about data which is outgoing from your PC. ZoneAlarm or Commodo are two of my free favorites and if you are not sure about how well your firewall works, download and run Leaktest. Uses hardly any resources and takes up very little space on the PC.
There is alot of free software out their that is loaded with spyware and such junk but then again, there is also much that will do you just fine that's not loaded with junk. Just be picky when you are looking for something and google the company or program to see what others think of it.
All of the software that I use is free and I haven't had spyware,adware, or a virus in at least three years. It's the cookies left behind that I can't stand.
Good luck

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