The risks are real, but the solution is clear. Secure your computer, your personal information, and your family against online threats with a comprehensive, easy-to-use Internet security policy. Print a copy of this list and keep it close at hand for easy reference.
1. Make no mistakeif you don't install strong security programs, your computer's performance and your personal information are at serious risk. Anti-spyware, anti-virus, and anti-Trojan horse software are a must if you spend any time online. Set the software to run in the background of every activity to provide consistent protection. In fact, it doesn't hurt to double up. Some programs will detect intruders that others may not.
Norton™ Security, at no additional cost for High-Speed Internet subscribers, offers the state-of-the-art solution for Internet protection.
Our Comcast Toolbar also offers powerful anti-phishing, anti-spyware (powered by CA), and pop-up blocking technology.
2. Install a firewall. A firewall is your first line of defense against online bad guys. It monitors the data passed between your computer and the Internet. When it spots suspicious inbound or outbound data, it either filters out questionable packets of information or disallows the connection entirely. Install one on your computer and Internet access point today if you haven't already.
As a Comcast High-Speed Internet subscriber, you can download Norton™ Security that includes firewall protection to help conceal your computer from hackers and spyware.
3. Update software regularly. Hackers work night and day to develop new methods to crack your system. Even the best security software can be compromised if you don't update their protection against emerging threats. Set your operating system and security software to check for updates automatically, then authorize the updates without delay. The brief interruption required to download an update and restart your computer helps keep you a step ahead of the hackers and thieves.
As a High-Speed Internet subscriber, the Norton™ Suite will automatically backup and restore your music, photos and files.
4. Secure your hard drive. Think that you'll never lose your laptop? That burglars don't know how to search your hard drive? That no one is peeking at your computer when you step away? Your trust may be misplaced. Secure access to your hard drive with a password. Then set your system to require the password each time your computer starts up, wakes up from sleep mode, or experiences a set period of inactivity.
5. Backup your hard drive. Give yourself the ability to pick up where you left off by backing up your hard drive. "Backing up" means copying the files on your computer's hard drive to an external source, such as a network server, storage disks, or another hard drive. This allows your files to be retrieved if your computer experiences a malfunction or a security-related problem. Of course, backing up only works if you do so regularly. Set your system to back up automatically at times of inactivity, such as late at night.
As a High-Speed Internet subscriber, you get 2GB of storage with Backup & Share for your music, photos and files.
6. Secure your wireless network. The convenience of wireless networks come bundles with additional risks. Secure access to your WiFi network with a password to make sure that strangers are not grabbing your personal information from the air.
7. Secure your passwords. It's an obvious but important point-security measures that require passwords are only as secure as their passwords. Combine numbers, letters, case, and symbols to create unique, secure passwords-the longer the better. Do not use the same password for more than one or two functions. And of course, never allow unauthorized persons access to your passwords.
8. Stay private in public. Never enter personal information on computers or wireless networks that are not under your direct control. Public computers and open wireless networks are conveniences that are shared by many but patrolled by few.
9. Talk to your kids, watch your kids. Consistent parental involvement is the best protection kids have against online risks. Educate yourself and talk to your kids about proper online behavior. Limit the risks further by installing parental controls that allow you to set criteria for Internet content, programs used, time spent online, and online chat partners.
10. Above all, be skeptical. The Internet presents enormous possibilities and serious risks. Keep your wits about you. The same rules that operate in the real world also operate online. Does an offer seem too good to be true? Do you really know the person on the other end of an unsolicited message? When something doesn't feel right, just close the window and hit delete. Online criminals are sophisticated, motivated, and difficult to prosecute. Don't let them get the upper hand.