What I Wish I’d Known: My Introduction to Computer Security

Online Threats, Web

Prior to working at F-Secure, I did not pay serious attention to Internet security matters. I blazed through the World Wide Web to savor its contents, recklessly clicking on links and downloading files while being unaware of what I could have invited into my computer.

Thanks to my security software, I have never been subjected to any attack or infection. I am crossing my fingers that my luck doesn’t run out.

Here are some basic computer security tips I wish I’d known.

Keep your anti-virus software updated

You have installed anti-virus software, now what? Many of us make the mistake of letting the anti-virus software to run out of date. The fact is that thousands of new malware pop out every day. Our response labs receive approximately 100,000 samples of malicious files on a daily basis. Therefore, it is crucial to keep your anti-virus software updated with the latest malware detections and definitions.

Refrain from downloading files from untrusted sources

We all know that opening unsolicited email attachments can lead to trouble. But you can find the same sort of trouble on the Internet. I know, it is hard to resist but downloading free media content (or any files) from the Internet but this is a major source of  PC infections.  Keep in mind that those files that you downloaded from untrusted sources might contain a little bit of something extra. It could be a worm that may wreak havoc on your system, or a Trojan that could lead to data theft.

Disable the Autorun feature

Autorun is a feature in Windows that detects the presence of autorun.inf in a file, and carries on to execute the instructions contained in that file without needing user interference. Most Autorun worms could disable anti-virus and security software, which leaves the system vulnerable to threats. To disable the Autorun feature, you can find the instructions here.

Make use of free online tools

If you are unsure about clicking on that link recently forwarded to you, enter the URL into our Browsing Protection page. It will scan for malicious contents and determine if the link is safe. Similarly, you can scan your system for suspicious files using our Online Scanner.

I hope these tips help you keep your computer safe. Stay safe and updated!

Cheers,
Sarah

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2 Comments

A big one I see is with operating system updates (i.e.Windows Update). So many layman users don’t realize the importance of updates and outright ignore that little icon in the lower right corner.

Overall, the biggest thing is a transformation of user mindset. We need street smart Internet users. Just like a major urban environment, such as New York City, you’re usually safe so long as you don’t put yourself in an unsafe place.

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