Colwich Computer Club.
Protection and Security.
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There are many different aspects to security on your computer.
Firstly a lot of people don’t
realise that by going into the control panel and selecting user accounts it is
quite easy to set a password for people accessing your computer and limit who
uses it by setting each user their own user accounts, ie: for other family members. You
can also make files available to any user, or just for your own use, or at
least you can with modern machines. Normal settings on most computers are already set to restrict
access to and to hide system files, but they can be revealed if you really want
to. If you do great care must be taken as accidental alterations can crash
your system. However, it is occasionally necessary to reveal these files for
you do set a password for access, and you will use many passwords in your use
of a computer, great care must be used in how you record/remember them.
Everyone says that you should never write them down and you should use
different passwords for different things. In practice, however, especially for
those of us with a poor memory, this is just not feasible, but one golden rule
is DON’T save them in text files on your computer. This also goes for specific
bank account details such as account numbers etc. Frequently, after being asked
for a password the computer will ask you if you want it to remember it for use
next time. Tick the yes box, because this will save you from having to
re-enter it again in similar circumstances. If you did get bugged, with one of
the keyboard key recording Trojans, it would not get the password as you would
not be re-entering it.
The “Strength” of a password is important. This basically refers to the complexity and difficulty of anyone guessing it by chance. Very often when creating a new password for something the computer will give an indication of its strength and advise mixing numbers with letters for added “Strength.” Also it may say it is case sensitive so that capitals can be mixed in.
follows a little joke about Irish Password Protection!
a recent PASSWORD AUDIT at the Bank Of Ireland it was found that Paddy O'Toole
was using the following password;-
When Paddy was asked why he had such a long password, he replied;-
"Bejazus! are yez blinkin' stupid? Shore Oi was told me password had to be at least 8 characters long and include one capital."
the old days it was easy to set up a password which was automatically asked
for with an Internet connection on Dial Up, however, for Broadband it can be a
lot more complicated and should involve using a “Firewall” as well. This
will prevent anybody from can gaining access through nearby connection,
possibly from a neighbour, or even someone with a Lap Top in a car out in the street.
Messages can also be encrypted these days for added security. Broadband is on
contract and so most people usually leave it on making security even more
anti virus program on your computer is extremely important these days and
there are many free ones available on the net. However, I am of the opinion
that you get what you pay for and if you don’t pay for it do you get
anything worth having? There are many good shop sold ones that do not cost the
earth and definitely are genuine. You will certainly get a free trial one with
your computer/Broadband supplier and certain free computer protection from
Microsoft, but a full security program should be installed as well.
are one of the commonest source of computer problems whether they are Viruses,
Trojans, or Worms. Very often they arrive on unsolicited E-mails containing
jokes and are usually embedded in the pictures, or in the attachments. Never
open an E-mail or attachment that doesn’t have a “Subject,” or any other E-mail where
you don’t recognise the sender’s name. This especially means dodgy bank
requests, or any one of many other dodgy financial E-mails, such as those
saying “You have won…. Etc,” or “So and so wants you to broker some
deal for them for a high commission fee for you.”
you have E-mail security installed a red warning symbol will appear on some
E-mails and the very worst may even be sanitised /partially deleted, to prevent
infection of your computer. Spam filters will remove much junk E-mail as well
as some dodgy ones, but always beware of any E-mail links as well on your
mail. Most will be genuine links even on Spam, but others will not and it is
not worth taking the risk. The name of the company will be on the E-mail, so if
you want to follow it up go to a search engine such as Yahoo or Google and you
will easily find the company.
web-sites are another great source of infection and a little thought before
clicking will prevent almost all casual infractions. Most web-sites start with
a www and are safe, but most dodgy web sites start without these three
letters. That doesn’t mean this is true of all sites. Many official program
downloads sites/pages, etc for Microsoft and the like don’t begin with www.
Some genuine free web-sites such as my own sites, including this site for the
Computer Club, don’t start www.
site name requests on a search engine will very often throw up dodgy sites
that can often be spotted as the site name or web address is also misspelled
from the genuine site’s. However, word recognition will still often give
genuine answers to such misspelled requests and usually prompt you with
you do find that your computer is infected it may not be necessary for a trip to
the repair shop as you may be able to correct things yourself. When a computer
installs a new program/update it nearly always installs a “Restore Point,” so
that after a bad download or visit to a dodgy web-site, you can restore the
computer to older settings before it was corrupted. This doesn’t always work
and is not something to be tried lightly, but can save both money and problems
if done with care.