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Securing Your Computer

With new viruses, worms and security vulnerabilities coming out everyday, it is vital to protect your computer. Securing your computer takes several steps.

Anti-virus Software
No computer should be without up-to-date virus protection software. This is the first line of defense against most threats. There are several manufacturers but the MSU computer store has a special reduced price on Norton Anti-Virus for students. Grisoft offers basic free anti-virus software at http://www.grisoft.com/.

Software Updates
It is important to keep all your software up-to-date. This is most important with your anti-virus software and Windows, but even simpler software, such as Microsoft Office, needs updating from time to time. Windows and most anti-virus software allow you to automate this, in Windows look for “Automatic Updates” in the Control Panel.
Here are a few common software update websites:

Personal Firewall
For the next level of protection you might want to consider a personal firewall. A personal firewall provides an additional layer of protection from threats on the Internet. There are several manufacturers but the MSU computer store has a special reduced price on Norton Personal Firewall 2005 for students.

SpyWare & AdWare
Spyware and adware is a gray area in Internet security but it is a real threat to your privacy. Programs and even web pages can install software that watches what you do on your computer or what web pages you visit. It is recommend that you use some kind of spyware scanning software. There are three free spyware scanning programs you can download:

  • Ad-aware - needs to be updated and a full scan ran at least once a month
  • Spybot - needs to be updated and a full scan ran at least once a month
  • SpywareBlaster - needs to be update at least once a month

Other Tips
Do not use File Sharing Software from your system.
File Sharing Software like Kazaa open up your system to other users and makes your system more vulnerable to hacking. If your system is hacked it can be used, without your knowledge, to perform malicious activities on the network which could cause your connection to be shut down. Additionally if your are identified to be sharing copyrighted files on your system, your network connection will also be shut off and you may be subject to other disciplinary actions up to an including being dropped from all of your classes. MSU is required, by law, to take action against any individual that is identified to be sharing copyrighted materials on its network.

Set your computer to download updates on a regular basis
In Windows XP go to start->settings->control panel-> Automatic Updates and the following window will appear.

Email Attachments
Never open an attached file in an email from a person that you do not know or that you were not expecting a file from.


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