Home Computer Security, Part 1
REACH4 Communications is Crowley, Louisiana’s premiere residential Internet service provider and wants to help you keep your home computer safe and secure from viruses and hackers that may be threatening your personal information. This is part 1 of our 5 part series on simple things you can do to keep you and the private materials on your computer safe from an attack.
It’s a simple truth that there is danger in the world. We’ve been taught our whole lives how to deal with danger in the physical world, but the world of the Internet is still young and new, and we’re making up the protections as we find new dangers. It can be scary, sure, but taking a few simple steps can go a long way towards giving you peace of mind. Here we’ll look at some options that are pretty easy, mostly free, and, best of all, effective!
Most people know by now that you need an antivirus program. Most people also take whatever is bundled into their computer’s software, and never think of it again. The problem is that those bundled programs are almost always *trial* versions, which will expire, and then cost money to renew. But there are some great free options! REACH4 is proud to partner with AVG and offer the option of a free trial version of their antivirus software. Click here to learn more!
Once you’ve downloaded your chosen antivirus, run an immediate full scan, or deep scan. Whatever the biggest, baddest scan your antivirus offers, that’s the one to run NOW. This will take a while. Be patient, and remember this is just as important for your computer as going to the doctor is for you. When the scan is done, you will be notified of any files that are infected, and given options for how to handle them. First, try “repair” or “clean”, which will actually remove the viruses from the files. Sometimes that doesn’t work, but don’t panic – send the files to “quarantine” or “vault”; it’s a separate space created by the antivirus where the infected files can’t do any harm.
After the initial scan, it’s time to configure the AV software so that you don’t have to think about it anymore. First, make sure there’s an icon for the program in your system tray, so you know at a glance that it’s still running. Also make sure that it’s set to update its virus database automatically. Then, set up scheduled scans. Yes, you really need to do this. A good practice is to schedule a deep scan to run once a week, when you know your computer will be on, but you won’t be using it. Midnight is good, or maybe some time while you’re at work, or even dinnertime (because dinnertime is family time, not computer time, right?). Along with that, you’ll want a light scan to run every day (light scans don’t slow down your machine so much, so you can still use your computer, but don’t set it for a time when you’ll want to watch movies or something). This is just like house cleaning: when you do a little every day, the big jobs aren’t so big when you get to them. The last thing you’ll want to configure is on-access scanning. This means that your antivirus will scan or ask to scan every application, program, or attachment you open or download. It can get a little tedious, but it’s much better than getting a big-bad-ugly into your system!
By following these few steps, your system should be safe from most viruses. Remember though, nothing is foolproof. If you would like more information and keeping your private information safe contact REACH4 Communications. And stay tuned for more easy ways to stay safe online!