Computer safety isthe are of computer science that is concerned with the risks that maycome forth due to computer usage. Unfortunately, wrong usage ofcomputers can lead to time and money wasted. To dodge these risks youneed to know some basic issues and take a few security precautions. In this article, we will talk about these.
Where does thisrisk originate?
Risks that may comeforth from computer usage, come about in different ways. Bugs andproblems in running programs, back doors that may have been put intothese programs, harmful viruses and similar programs, direct andindirect threats, shifty programs and user mistakes are all examplesof these. So how can we be protected?
Update yoursecurity regularly
Operating systemsand programs can have contents that are harmful and problematic toand for your PC. These bugs, if detected by the wrong people can beutilized to slow your computer down, cause problems, do things youdon't want to be done, your personal information might get stolen,data losses can occur and other problems may arise. Softwaremanufacturers work on fixing bugs and back doors they find in theirprograms. For this purpose, there are many updates added to programsby these manufacturers that fix problems. This is why your computerneeds to stay updated. To keep your computer updated you need toactivate update programs and to look up updates for these programs atregular intervals. You can keep track of Windows operating systemupdates at http://update.microsoft.com/.If you use any version of Linux, you can update your operating systemand all other programs with a single click in one of your packagemanaging programs.
Programs aren'tall equally safe. Some programs have more bugs and faults thanothers. There are even programs that are created for the sole purposeof harming computers. For this reason it is important to stick toreliable software. Open source programs in general are composed bymany separate parties of people and for this reason tend to havefewer bugs and faults. You can start using reliable software too bystarting with Firefox and Thunderbird. To steer away from the risksof the Windows operating system completely you can switch to a Linuxbased operating system. For example the program Pardus has beendeveloped by TUBITAK UEKAE and is a user friendly, Turkish version ofLinux.
Viruses, worms andTrojans are all tiny programs that can be used to harm computerintegrity. These tiny programs can come into contact with yourcomputer through various routes. This can be a CD, DVD or a USB.
Harmful software:Undoubtedly, the biggest source forthese subprograms is the Internet. With the ever more prevalent ADSLconnection, there is an even higher risk. Because you are constantlyonline, you will need an antivirus program. These programs can allowyou to scan for any harmful software in your PC and quarantine themand at the same time can be constantly working in the background tokeep these harmful viruses away. There is an average of 3 virusesbeing created every day and dangerous viruses are known to spreadrapidly within just a few hours. To be safe from new viruses you needto keep an updated version of an Antivirus program and this is whyantivirus manufacturing companies constantly update their virusinformation databases. What every antivirus user needs to know isthat these programs need to be constantly updated. There are manyantivirus programs available to be bought but there are also freeprograms like Antivir, Avast, AVG, ClamAV which are very successful.There are no active viruses outside Windows based operating systemslike MacOS, Linux, Solaris and BSD so there is really no need to usean antivirus if you are using one of these.
Use Your Firewall
When someone istrying to attack a computer, they try to find a weak spot in thetarget computer. When they find this weak spot, they can exploit itto access your personal information, passwords, and credit cardnumbers and use your PC for illegal actions and harm your system. Webbrowsers, e-mail programs, IM programs, multiplayer games and smallfunctions on an operating system which seem helpful create easyaccess points. To close up these gaps in security and keep thesehackers at bay you can use your firewall. For windows users this caneasily be done by checking your security settings within your ControlPanel.
Stay Away fromWebsites you don't trust
As it has beenstated above, the source of the majority of safety risks is theInternet. Users that visit unknown websites can often run webapplications or download files that contain viruses and seriouslyharm their computers. Sites that contain illegal content (hack,crack, warez ,porn etc.)will not refrain from harming your computer.For this reason I would like to say that you should refrain fromclicking the "yes" option when setting your browses securitysettings, clicking on every link without a second thought anddownloading every file you see.
Do Not OpenUnknown E-mails and Files
Viruses and otherharmful programs on the most part prefer to spread via email. Emailsfrom people you don't know and have suspicious titles andattachments have a high probability of being viruses. In thesesituations it is best to delete these emails without opening them.Some messages will be sent on email or IM programs (MSN, ICQ, GTalketc.) looking as if they're from people you know without them beingaware of this. Some email messages can even be sent through otheremail addresses. This is why it is best, when you receive an emailfrom someone you know but what they've sent looks suspicious, toget back to them and ask if it was really them who sent it, beforeopening that message. Besides this, popular file sharing programs oflate (BitTorrent, Kazaa, I-Mesh, E-Donkey, DC etc) have fileswithin them that breach property laws and for this reason, thesefiles are shared under different names. To be safe from situationslike these you should always have an active anti-virus programrunning.
Be Aware of Scams
Just as it is inreal life, there are people online who cheat and abuse people'srequests and do illegal things. This is called social engineering andis usually implemented to obtain peoples private information and tocheat them. It is becoming more common for these people to usemessages stating that they are administrators and that a processneeds to be executed and for this they need a password. This is donethrough different, "captured" email addresses. It is necessary toalways keep in mind that data and information can always bemanipulated and that these might not be sent from the right people.