Thursday, February 15, 2007

General computer security information

General computer security measures to ensure safe browsing on internet.

Standard Chartered Website Authenticator
Is it safe to shop and bank online?

The decision to bank or shop online is an individual choice, however, provided you take a few sensible precautions like using Anti-virus software, and shopping from reputable sites - it is safe. Adjust the security settings on your browser to protect you to the level you require. Don't give out personal information in chat-rooms or if you are not sure who is receiving the information.

How do I know if my PC is safe?

If you have anti-virus software on your PC (and keep it up to date), and are sensible about opening email attachments, and have the file sharing option on your operating system turned off (unless you need it for use in an office or home network) then your PC is reasonably safe. Try not to leave the PC connected to the Internet when it is not in use. You should also consider installing a firewall, this is particularly important if you have a permanent connection e.g. broadband access. As a further measure, make sure you keep back up copies of anything important on floppy disk, CD-ROM or another storage device then if you do fall victim to a virus or your computer breaks down you can still re trieve your data.

Is my computer safe if I am not connected to the Internet?

Yes, although there are still risks from viruses on floppy disks, CD-ROMs or portable hard disks if you are not connected to the Internet and of course your computer may break down or be stolen.

How do I know if a website is genuine?

Just as anyone can insert an advertisement in a newspaper, so anyone can set up a website. Check for contact details on the site (a postal address, not just an email address). Internet addresses have to be properly registered so most organisations have registered their own names as site names. However, this cannot always be guaranteed, particularly for all available suffixes, so if you are in any doubt it is advisable to check for physical address details. A browser lets you access the information on the Internet. Common browsers include Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator and Mozilla Firefox. A secure web browser supports the technical security protocols (standards) used by some sites, such as Internet Banking, to prevent unauthorized people from seeing information sent to or from the sites. You can tell when this is happening by the appearance of a padlock symbol at the bottom of the browser window. Double clicking this symbol will show a 'digital certificate' (also known as a SSL certificate) confirming the authenticity of the site.

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