Computer Security

Written by Serena Berger
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Computer security is not just important on office networks--it may be even more important to you on your home computer. If you have multiple people living in your household, you may each want to be sure that only you can read certain files or access certain programs. Additionally, you need to keep your computer secure from intruders using the Internet as a conduit by which they can access it.

If you had sensitive documents at work, you would put them in a filing cabinet or another secure location to which only you had access. You also would not leave the front door to your home open while you were away at work for the day. These situations are analogous to common flaws in computer security, especially for home computer users.

Passwords Are the First Step in Computer Security

Strong passwords are the first line of defense against unauthorized users who are trying to gain access to your information. Not using passwords is tantamount to inviting hackers to access and compromise your computer system. Your passwords should use a combination of letters (capitalized and lower case), numerals and special characters like * and $. The longer you make your password, the more combinations someone would have to process if they were randomly guessing. Of course, you should be able to remember it too.

Another critical component to computer security is a firewall. This is intended to keep other users from accessing your system across the Internet. Both free and commercial versions of software firewalls are available, so there is no reason not to use them. To supplement your software firewall, you can also purchase a hardware firewall to add an additional layer of security to your system.

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