It’s a jungle out there – Computer security tips

Computer Security is for everyone!

In the information technology world, computer security is important for everyone. Hackers don’t just attack the big companies and governments anymore.

Image courtesy of hywards at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So what can you do to keep your computer and network safe? Though there is no 100% guarantees, here is a few things that will help.

Anti-virus

The first and foremost thing that no computer should ever be without is an antivirus program. It may be the most important computer security you have. There are many free options, but Wolfe Computer Solutions does not recommend using free anti virus programs. We offer a managed anti-virus plan, or we have standard Emsisoft licenses available.

Back-Ups

Back ups are vital to your computers life.  If you keep any file of any value on your computer, back ups are beyond essential.  Do you have family videos, family pictures, financial files, your resume, your school work, your……. I think you get the point.  If you lost these how hard would it be to replace them?  Pictures and videos are frequently irreplaceable.  You need to have a physical back up (like a portable hard drive) or a cloud backup (like Carbonite) or both.

Browser

The much maligned Internet Explorer is a source of a large number of computer security issues.  Wolfe Computer Solutions suggests using Chrome from Google, or Firefox. Then be very wary about all extensions used in them.  We go so far as suggesting not using extensions at all.

Updates

Keeping the latest security updates on your Computer system.  This includes Operating system updates (Window Updates) as well as updates for all of the programs you use.  Flash, Acrobat, Office and more need to be updated as hackers can find ways in through un-patched holes in these programs.  Wolfe Computer Solutions is in the process of adding update management (or as we call it in the computer industry patch management ) to our Business Managed Service plans, as well as to our Home User computer care plans.

DNS

Using the DNS (Domain Name Service) from your internet service provider works to turn that dot com into an internet address, but there are other much more secure ways to do it.  Wolfe Computer Solutions suggests using OpenDNS for this service.  It takes a bit to set up, but once you have it working, it will block phishing sites as well you can set up some basic filtering to block gambling, pornography, and more.

E-Mail

This is one area where personal caution comes in very helpful.  If you are not expecting an invoice or attachment from someone DO NOT open it.  Remember that legitimate companies are not going to ask you to email your password.  Check the links you click and make sure that you are really going where the email says you are.

So a little focus on computer security goes a long way.  If you have questions about your set up, or would just like to talk to a professional, give Wolfe Computer Solutions a call!

307-222-9270

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The True Cost of Free!

There are lots of “free” anti-virus software packages available these days. It’s a great deal!
Right?!?
Why would this not be a great deal?

After some research into these Anti-virus programs, Wolfe Computer Solutions will no longer install them on our custome

r’s computers. As we all know there is no such thing as a free lunch and we cannot, in good conscience, put these risks on your system.
Let’s explore why a lot of free anti-virus software programs are not the best solution:

PUP’s:

This does not mean the cute, little animals you can adopt from Black Dog Animal Rescue . PUP is short for Potentially Unwanted Programs.  Things like browser tool-bars, registry optimizers (which don’t work), driver updaters, and many more. These have several problems:

  • They slow down your system
  • They track you (to sell to you)
  • They nag you to buy a product
  • They cause pop-ups (oh so many pop-ups)
  • They ask you for money

Of the top eight free anti-virus products, seven of them come bundled with PUPs. The PUP vendors pay the software distributors up to $2.00 per installation, to bundle them with the “free” anti-virus. Then they make even more money by re-directing you to their paid, erm, I mean “Safe” search sites.

Nags:

Another annoyance with free anti-virus products is that they will nag you. More than your mother did about cleaning your room when you were a teenager. After a while, it feels like they ask you to upgrade to the paid subscription every ten minutes. Then some of them continue to nag you even if you do buy their product…

They want you to buy optimizing add-ins, “Internet Security suites”, and all other kinds of products you don’t need and probably don’t want.

Privacy:

A quick read through the privacy policy of many free anti-virus programs lists many things the software collects:

  • Websites you visit
  • Infection information
  • Email information
  • Copies of ” Potentially Infected” files
  • Hardware information
  • Who knows what else.

Now, what alternative solution do we suggest? We only install Emsisoft Anti-malware. They have committed to never including PUPs and take your privacy seriously. We can install or sell a one year plan, or if you prefer a more hands off option we offer Managed Anti-Virus and computer care plans for home users.
Managed Anti-virus is also an optional add on for our Small Business Service Plans.

Call us at 307-222-9270 for more information

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