With all the threats to your safety online, you need a personal home computer security system to keep your computer protected from intruders and unwanted programs. By spending a little time setting up a good security system, you can safely go online and not worry that your personal data will get stolen or deleted. You can also go a step further and setup a more elaborate system that uses your computer to help keep your house safe as well.
Personal Home Computer Security System: What you Need
To keep your computer safe, you'll need more than one method of defense. Collectively, all the measures you use to keep safe create an effective personal home computer security system.
Your computer can't catch a cold like you can, but if it becomes infected with a virus, it will be you who feels sick. A virus can do annoying things such as create pop-ups to appear all the time to more serious actions like deleting your entire hard drive.
Using anti-virus software will help keep your computer safe. It does this by scanning your computer for threats--every time you download a program, open an e-mail or browse a Web page.
New viruses come out all the time, so you need to make sure you update your anti-virus program so that it can fight all the latest viruses. Most programs come with an automatic update feature.
A good free anti-virus program is AVG.
When your computer is connected to the Internet, it's like having a home with the doors and windows open, or at least unlocked. What this means for your computer is that someone out there in cyberspace-a hacker-can take advantage of the openings in your computer to gain access. Once inside, they can look at your files, remotely control your computer and many other mischievous things. The way to protect yourself is to use a firewall. Instead of having your computer completely wide open and vulnerable, the firewall only lets communications in and out that you approve. If a program or a person who you have not authorized tries to come into your computer, the firewall will alert you to the threat and block the intruder.
A firewall won't stop a highly skilled hacker, but someone with enough skill to get around your personal firewall likely isn't going to be targeting your computer anyway.
Microsoft Windows Vista and XP both come with a basic firewall program built into the operating system that you can use.
A firewall is good, but the only way its defenses are triggered is when a threat has already made it to your computer. A router goes a step further and sets up the defenses outside of your computer. Using the house example, a router is like a fence around your yard. Routers have other uses that make them worthwhile purchases. A router can allow multiple computers to use one DSL or cable Internet connection. And a wireless router means you can surf the Web on your laptop from any room in your home.
Periodically security problems are discovered in Microsoft Windows which allows people or programs to harm your computer. Even if you have anti-virus and firewall software, you'll remain vulnerable to attack unless you download the system updates. Windows Vista and XP both have automatic updates built in, so be sure to download all the security updates that Microsoft releases. There is no cost to do this and you can schedule downloads to take place when you are not using the computer.
Computer Video Surveillance
After you're finished protecting your computer, you might consider setting up your computer to help protect your home. With your computer, a Webcam and some software, you can configure your computer to monitor your home while you are away. You can even set it up so that you can watch the video feed over the Web.
The video surveillance won't keep someone out of your house, but you'll have a recording of who they are and what they did. If security is not your priority, the surveillance system can also be used to watch other happenings in your home. No longer will you have to wonder what your pet does all day while you are at work.
This article here explains how to setup a surveillance system on both a Mac and PC.
Setting up a security system is time well spent. Even if you use less-targeted computers running Mac OS X or Linux, you can still have hackers invade your computer. Take a few moments to protect your computer and all your personal information.