Ensuring the Home PC security is a big part in making sure your web hosting doesn’t get hacked. We have compiled below the best practices in Home PC security compiled from various eminent sources. Please make sure you follow all of the recommendations.

1. Secure your operating system

Operating System vendors are usually the first ones to know if there is a backdoor to your system, and they do prompty release patches to block those. But your system must be configured to download and install an udpate as soon as one becomes available. If you are not sure on how to do this, please contact your vendor to get this done.

2. Keep all applications you use up to date

Just like your Operating System, the applications you use regularly provides a window into your PC, and they too should be updated as soon as a patch or update  becomes available. Again, if you are not sure how to do this, please avail the help of your PC vendor.

3. Remove or disable unnecessary applications

Rule of thumb should be, if you do not use it, delete it. Unused applications running in the back ground are the cause for a lot of PC break-ins. We try out a lot of applications in our PCs, and sometimes use better ones when they become available. But usually forget about the ones already installed and is configured to run at boot time.  If an application is not used and checked for upgrades daily, you should disable it or delete it.

4. Use strong passwords

This is probably one of the most talked about way of securing a PC, and services accounts. However, what most people doesnt realize is how easily a password can be guessed by hackers through social engineering or basic behavior analysis. Most people use a set of few passwords for all their interfaces, and surprising as it is, most people use a very limited set of words for passwords.

Check out the most commonly used passwords, as revealed by analysing security incidents, and how to choose a secure password.

5. Follow secure internet usage practices

This is one of the most under-estimated threat potentials. For the time that you are online, you are exposing your PC and your valuable data to every potential intruder in the wild. You need to be very careful about each step you take in the internet.

5.a. Do not click on links. Copy-paste it.

5.b. Do not open suspicious mail attachments or mails from unknown email IDs.

5.c. Don’t save your login information – Many programs, including instant messengers, FTP clients, browsers, etc include automatic login features that will save your username and password. Disable this option so that even if you inadvertently download a malware, it cannot get the sensitive information.

5.d. Use SSL connection for ALL authentication sessions. Before you type in a username and password, always check if the browser, FTP client, email client, or any other application is currently using an SSL connection to send out the details. If you are not sure, contact the service provider to know how to connect to a service using SSL.

Here is an excellent guide to the various online security practices.

6. Install security software

This is probably the most heard requirement in home PC security. However, most users stop with installing an anti-virus program. But you will need all three of the below software

6.a. Anti-virus: Some security experts suggest 2 or more anti-virus in one PC, as one anti-virus may not have all the latest virus data. But at the minimum, maintain at least one fully licenses anti-virus in your computer, which should be preferably updated hourly.

A full list of anti-virus software can be found here.

6.b. Personal Firewall: Most internet users are un-aware the requirement of a personal firewall for their PCs. This provides an additional layer of security which will prevent any un-authorized traffic in your computer.

For a full list of firewalls, check out this link.

6.c. Anti-spyware: Anti-spyware boosts your system security by keeping a close watch on your internet traffic and blocks any attempt by malicious websites or programs to collect personal information. Some anti-virus software will have anti-spyware component included. We recommend you buying an anti-virus of major brands like McAfee, Norton, Kaspersky, etc, so that you do not have to spend extra on an anti-spyware.

For a full list of anti-spyware tools, check out this link.

Further Reference

You can check the following links for more information on how to improve the security of your home PC.

http://www.getsafeonline.org
http://www.staysafeonline.org
http://www.onguardonline.gov
http://www.itlifeguard.com/BasicSecurity.htm
http://www.cert.org/homeusers/HomeComputerSecurity/
http://www.web-source.net/pc_security/index.htm
http://stopbadware.org/home/users

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