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Module 1: Computer Security and Privacy

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2.1 Guidelines for Protecting Your Computer

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Guidelines for Protecting Your Computer
* Lesson 2 - PROTECTING YOUR COMPUTER 2.1 - GUIDELINES FOR
PROTECTING YOUR COMPUTER [1] Guidelines for Protecting
Your Computer

Imagine that you have saved a confidential project report on your
computer. You have been working for weeks to prepare this report and now
you want to share the project report with your supervisor. You have a
single copy of this report on your computer and it is important to secure
the report from being tampered with or deleted. However, another employee
uses your computer in your absence and deletes the project report from your
computer. To avoid such situations, you can take measures to secure the
data on your computer. The following table explains the actions that you
can take to safeguard the operating environment and data on your computer.
Scroll down to read each description.

Implement user identification

An effective way to minimize the risk to your operating environment and
data is to keep unauthorized individuals from accessing your computer. One
way to achieve this is by setting up accounts for authorized users of the
computer, on the basis of which each user gets an appropriate level of
access.For example, in Windows Vista, you can set up user accounts for each
member of your family or other users. You can decide to give yourself more
privileges, or in the case of a child's account, you can restrict the
account's capabilities.

[Implement user identification]

Set username and password

You can also increase security and limit unauthorized access to your
computer by setting up a username and password. In most offices, each
employee has a unique username and password. The employees must provide the
correct username and password to access their computers. You can set up
users and passwords in Windows Vista.

[Set username and password]

Keep password secure

Your password acts like a key to your computer. Anyone who knows your
password can access your computer and tamper with data. You must keep your
password secure.Be careful while typing your password to prevent anyone
else from seeing it. Do not share your password with others. Do not write
the password and leave it on your computer or desk. If you think that the
password has been compromised, change it immediately, before anyone else is
able to misuse it.

[Keep password secure]

Lock computer

When you leave your computer on and unattended, someone can tamper with
your computer software or data. You can prevent this by temporarily locking
your computer while you are away. When a computer is locked, it immediately
hides the content of the screen and does not allow any operation until the
computer is unlocked with the correct username and password combination.The
exact steps to lock your computer depend on the operating system you are
using. For example, in Windows Vista, you can lock your computer by
pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL, and then clicking the Lock this computer button.
Note that this feature of locking the computers is not available in all
operating systems.

[Lock computer]

Install and update protective software

You need to continuously guard your computer against threats such as
viruses and spyware. At times, the damage due to a virus is considerable
and you may lose important data or need to reinstall the operating system
and other software. You can protect your computer from viruses and spyware
by installing antivirus and antispyware software. These protective software
programs help you detect and remove viruses and spyware present in your
computer. They also prevent new ones from infecting your computer.It is a
good practice to install a firewall, which filters out the content that
reaches your computer. Installing a firewall also protects against hackers
by restricting access by other online users.As newer threats keep
appearing, software companies regularly create updates that you can install
on your computer. These updates make additions to the installed software or
operating system in your computer to make it less vulnerable to security
threats. Ensure that you regularly update the antivirus software so that it
can detect the newest viruses.Windows Vista includes Windows Firewall to
protect your computer against unauthorized access. In addition, Windows
Defender is a built-in antispyware program that protects against pop-ups
and other security threats.

[Install and update protective software]

Encrypt data

Converting your data to an unreadable form to protect it from
unauthorized access is called encryption. An authorized user can reconvert
the encrypted data into a readable and usable form. This is called
decryption. Various software products today include a way to encrypt
data.In Windows Vista, encryption is transparent to the user who encrypts
the file. That is, you do not have to manually decrypt the encrypted file
before you can use it. You can open and change the file as you usually do.

[Encrypt data]

Back up data

You can also help protect your files from loss or damage by making
copies of important files and storing them on a different storage media,
such as CDs, DVDs, or floppy disks. This process is known as backing up
data. You should keep the backups in secure locations, so that you can use
the backup data in case the original data is damaged or deleted.

[Back up data]



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