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Securing your computer

Hardening your computer is an essential step for securing your personal information and data. However, many people do not know what simple steps can be taken to safeguard their systems.

Hardening a computer involves several steps to form "layers" of protection by using antivirus software protection, regularly downloading and installing the latest computer manufacturer’s and operating system patches and security updates, and disabling unneeded software and applications. This leads to a safer, more secure computer, which is harder to break into. Hardening a computer involves several steps to form layers of protection. This approach to safer computing is often called “defence in depth”.

Applying vendor security patches regularly is the first step to help harden your computing system. Also, many security experts recommend installing a firewall on your computer, if the operating system does already have one. Additional hardening actions include closing server ports, disabling Windows and other programs form file-sharing, and additionally hardening email programs. Tips for hardening computers are listed below, along with several other helpful links on hardening.

Another layer of protection for your computer is to install and regularly use virus and spyware protection software. Scheduling daily automatic definition updates and scans to be performed on your computer are vital steps. Antivirus software and Antispyware software is freely available on the Internet and for a list of products visit http://www.netsafe.org.nz/what-anti-virus-software-should-i-use/

Good computer security is about finding the right balance between hardening your system against potential threats and maintaining usability. If you do not require a particular software application or service it should be disabled and removed. Extra software just requires more work on your part to make it harder for a computer attack to be successful. Adding unnecessary software can lead to your PC spreading a virus or providing a launching pad for attacks against other campus and home systems.

 

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