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Tips for Safely Operating Your Computer

Part of the Computer Viruses For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Antivirus software, when properly configured and maintained, is an important factor in protecting your computer and your information — but it can't do it all. Practice the following procedures when operating your home computer to minimize the risk of computer viruses, worms, and even spam:

  • Never open e-mail messages from people you do not know.

  • Never open attachments in unexpected or strange messages from people you don't know (or do know).

  • Install security patches when they are available.

  • Turn on Automatic Updates so that you can learn of new security patches when they become available.

  • Regularly back up your important data.

  • Use secure Web browser settings.

  • Download files only from trusted and well-known sites.

  • Use alternate e-mail accounts for higher-risk activities like mailing
    lists and Web site registrations.

  • Disconnect your computer from the Internet when you are not using it.

  • Password-protect and use your screen saver if you work where others have access to your computer.

  • Filter annoying and harmful e-mail with a spam filtering program.

  • Block worms and Trojan horses with a hardware or software firewall.

  • Block spyware and other potentially harmful software with a spyware filtering program.

  • Don't go to Web sites you've never heard of before.

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Computer Viruses For Dummies Cheat Sheet

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