How To Keep your Computer Secure

Dear Computer Lady,

Is this age of identity theft, is there something one should do with a home computer to prevent it?

Thanks, Lester


Dear Lester,

There are a few things you can do with your home computer to make it harder for hackers to steal your identity.

1. Make sure you have a good security program.

Gone are the days when you can get by with just a free antivirus program. These days, there are so many threats online, and most of them are not viruses, that you need a full featured security program. I use and recommend AVG Internet Security 2011.

2. Don’t store your social security number on your computer.

I don’t have my social security number, bank account number or credit card number on my computer. I don’t need to have it on there, so why risk exposing it to the world at large. I do use my credit card online, but I don’t save the number, I type it in each time I use it.

3. Use strong passwords.

If you do have private information stored on your computer, say a tax program, or financial program, or you access your bank statements online, make sure you have a strong password. What makes a strong password? I like to start with a short phrase, then substitute numbers for some of the vowels and make sure a random letter or two is capitalized. I also like to mix up the words of my original phrase.

If you do have a program like a financial program on your computer, make sure you password protect the file, and use a strong password.

Following these suggestions will help you keep your computer and your information more secure.


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    • ChemChica
    • July 6, 2011


    I’m going to ask clarification on the above “….storing of info…etc”. Does that mean not storing it ANYWHERE?, ie, on an external HD? (for example, my tax returns).

    Now that I’m sure I have my CC stored, how do I eliminate it? some of the sites don’t have an obvious way to delete it or, once deleted, isn’t it still around somewhere?

    I’m so scared of this and have always been careful regarding opening of all, etc., and I realize that the credit card company will take care of unauthorized charges, but my IDENTITY!! what a hassle/nightmare if it were compromised….


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