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E Crime

Follow these simple steps to Protect your PC, protect yourself and protect your business

1. Passwords-Use strong passwords and change them regularly. You wouldnt give someone your PIN number to your bank account so dont give your password out as it will give others access to a vast amount of personal information as well as possible financial details.

Try to use a different password for each computer, system and service that you use. Do not write these down. Do not share your password with anyone.

A password should be complicated so it cannot be easily guessed. The stronger the password the stronger the protection will be. Consider using a combination of letters, both upper and lowercase, and numbers, and punctuation marks. Remember it!


2. E-mail-Look out for e-mail attachments and internet download modules.

One of the most common methods of transferring computer viruses is by embedding them in attachments that accompany e-mails or materials downloaded from attractive websites. Do not use the preview function for email contents, do not open an attachment that the anti-virus software has indicated is malicious, and do not open emails from people that you do not know- delete them immediately.


3. Anti-virus-Install, maintain and apply anti-virus applications.

Anti-virus applications are a low-cost means of protecting your systems and information from external threats. The most widely publicised viruses are transmitted via email attachments, and infection is initiated when they are open. Viruses can also infect computers through floppy disks, CDs, website sand downloaded files. When doing or using any of these you need to check for viruses.

Anti-virus applications look at the contents of each file and remove the offending pattern or destroy the file or email attachment that contains the virus. The anti-virus applications must be kept up-to-date to catch new problems and viruses.

Install anti-virus software and keep the signature files current though automatic or manual updates at least weekly. Renew annually. DO NOT connect to the internet without first activating an anti-virus application. DO NOT open e-mail attachments from unexpected and unknown sources.


4. Firewall-Install and use a firewall.

A firewall performs much the same job as a security guard at a public building. It examines the messages coming into your system from the internet as well as messages you send out. The firewall determines if these messages should continue on to their destination or be stopped. The firewall guard can greatly reduce the volume of unwanted and malicious messages allowed into your network, but it takes time and effort to set one up and maintain it. Firewalls can also prevent many forms of undesirable access to your network.

Install a firewall on ever machine and set it up to block traffic for all services except those specifically used on the machine.


5. Uninstall-Remove unused software and user accounts, clean out everything on replaced equipment.

Computer systems are delivered with a myriad of options, many of which you may never use. Software that is no longer used will not be maintained and should be removed from the computer systems so that it cannot be used as a way for attackers to harm your systems. A vast amount of data can be stored on disk drives, and this information is not removed when the files are deleted. Additional data is stored in temporary files used by software on the computers. Anyone can retrieve this information by accessing the disk through another computer. For equipment that is removed and repurposed, discarded, given away or sold, the disk space must be overwritten to avoid sharing data.


6. Access-Establish physical access controls for all computer equipment.

No matter how good the passwords and security controls on the computer, laptop or PDA, if someone else has physical access to it they can circumvent the security and use or destroy anything on the device. Anyone with physical access to your electronic device, including repairmen, technical support, and family members, can bypass installed controls and see, change , and destroy data and programs on your computer.


7. Back-up-Create backups for important files, folders and software. Copying files, folders, and software onto some other media (like a disc or CD) provides a source for recovery if it is needed. Backups should be created any time there is a change to the original content. Select the backup option based on expense (both time and equipment), available time for creating the backup, and recovery time restoring the original from the backup copy. Copies can be created on any form of removable media including floppy disks, CD, ZIP disks, or removable disk drive.


8. Updates-Keep current with software updates.

Software vendors routinely provide updates (also called patches) to fix problems and enhance functionality within their products. In addition, many of these patches fix vulnerabilities that could be used by viruses and other attacks to harm your computer and its contents. By keeping software up-to-date, software malfunctions and opportunities for system compromise are minimised. Vendors often provide free patches for download on their websites. Software is not shipped defect free.

When you purchase a programme, see if and how the vendor supplies updates.


9. Network-Implement network security with access control.

Good network security requires access protection for each component on the network including firewalls, routers, switches and all connected user devises. Otherwise, anyone who could reach your network could locate and compromise network components and services. In addition, remote and portable devices should be required to authenticate themselves to the network to limit who can see and access the network services such as databases, shared files and printers. A firewall provides a buffer between the components of your network and the eternal environment. The more access restrictions you can legitimately place on your network using blocking capabilities within the firewall and other similar services, the easier it will be to keep it secure. Good access control is critical for wireless access since use of this type of connectivity is less visible. Instant messaging, chat sessions, and music sharing capabilities establish other routes into the network, bypassing many of the traditional network security mechanisms. These options are a growing conduit of malicious code and must be used carefully.


10. Limit access-Limit access to sensitive and confidential data

E-mail should only be viewed by those to whom it is sent. Data files should only be accessed by individuals who have received specific permission. When access to information cannot be tightly controlled, such as e-mail or a credit card transaction over the internet, this information can be covered through a mathematical process called encryption.


Protect your PC, protect yourself and protect your business

This information was taken from the guidance set out by the e-crime Wales Partnership, further details of which can be found at www.ecrimewales.com

Further tips on how to prevent spyware, secure your wireless network, and physical security can be found on www.getsafeonline.org along with advice on how to avoid identity theft, avoid fraud and bell and sell online safely.

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Helping young people keep safe on the internet, for more information read on…


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