If you work on a computer network at your job, you have some idea of what computer security is. Your company has to protect its system from intruders who can access it through the network. Anything that provides access – doors, windows or computer networks – needs security to protect its contents from inappropriate access. But your home computer doesn’t deal with super secret bookkeeping information or a database of customer credit card information. So, do you really need a computer security system at home?
Yes and No
While your home computer probably doesn’t contain the kind of data that attracts nefarious hackers, it may have the kind of vulnerability that can attract a crime of opportunity. You may have a home computer network to allow two or more computers to use the internet at the same time or just to allow the only computer in the house to go online while keeping the phone line open. The point is that being connected to the internet provides a point of access to anyone looking for one.
Your first step in a computer security system is your internet connection. Your internet service provider should give you information on how your connection is protected. The majority of internet users will buy something online at some point in time. Before you whip out the credit card, make sure that your internet connection is secure. While not part of a computer security system, it’s also a good idea to make sure that the online retailer you are using is secure. When you get to the shopping cart area of the web site, take a look at the address line - if the “http” turns into “https” you are on a secure connection.
Your computer should have virus protection software package as part of your computer security system. Shop around and you can find good ones at a bargain. Take a look at some of the sites that provide virus news too. Stay informed of the newest viruses so that you can make sure you’re software is up to handling them. Also never open an email attachment unless you are expecting it.
Finally, at the very least, keep backups of your important data and any programs, like games, that you paid for. Use a device that can contain your downloaded files separately from the computer like CD-ROMs or flash drive. You can also use a file hosting service that will keep a copy of your files. Remember that you had a brain before your computer did - use it as part of your home computer security system.