8 Steps To Secure Windows


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The Internet is awash with viruses, Trojan Horse programs and worms which are constantly looking to infect vulnerable computers that are connected to the internet. If a worm gets into your computer it does not limit itself to the individual e-mails you send to friends, family and colleagues, as it can spread itself automatically to all addresses stored in your email program.

Take positive steps today to ensure both Windows and your email program are secure.

1. Install a more secure operating system. If you are not using Windows 2000/XP then you should consider upgrading to these systems. They use the NTFS (New Technology File System) and that is much more secure than FAT32, which earlier operating systems use.

2. Switch off windows scripting. Many applications can use Windows Scripting Host (WSH), but unfortunately worms also use this programming language. A famous example of this is the “loveletter virus". You should therefore restrict the use of WSH by disabling scripting.

3. Pay attention to the files types you open. Many worms hide behind false file types. JPG, GIF or ZIP files that may be sent to you as an attachment in an email are good examples. You can modify windows so you can better control these file types and protect your PC from possible infections.

4. Correctly configure Outlook and Outlook Express. These popular email programs are always a target for Hacker and Worm attacks. Ensure that you have all the security settings that these programs contain switched on.

5. Correctly configure Internet Explorer. Check the security settings in Internet Explorer. The security level should be set to “Medium" at the very least.

6. Protect your Microsoft Office Programs. The macro functions of Microsoft programs, for example Word, are popular ways for hackers to use to get into your PC. Ensure that you have correctly configured the security settings to prevent this.

7. File and printer control. To prevent access to your computer, you should deactivate file and printer sharing unless you are on a secure network.

8. Set up a firewall. In addition to good anti-virus software, you should also install a firewall. This will give your PC added protection against attack. Windows XP has a firewall built into it. Users of other operating systems should invest in a third-party firewall for their computers.

No PC can be 100% secure, but what you can do is minimise the security risk. By making changes such as those outlined in this article you can vastly improve the level of security on your PC.

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Copyright Mike Morris 2005


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