With more and more of us taking confidential work home to process either on a laptop or a home PC, it has become vital to consider whether you are adequately protecting that information. On top of that, we are also using our home PC to store private personal information or conduct personal business online and disclosing private information. Here are some ways to protect the confidentiality and privacy of that information that will frustrate the hackers, crackers and cyber-spies…

Use protective programs that will make your computer more secure

Using a combination or readily available programs, often sold as a bundle, or a package, you can minimize your risk of becoming a victim of online crime. Here are some of the most important:

  • Antivirus – An antivirus program is a necessity. If you are not using an anti-virus package on your home computer – one that is updated regularly with new virus definitions, and which can scan email attachments for viruses – you are asking for trouble. You already know this, but it bears repeating.
  • Firewall – If your home computers are not behind a wireless router, an application firewall is a must. A firewall filters the traffic between your computer and the Internet. Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 all come with firewalls turned on by default. You only need one firewall app on your PC (in addition to the firewall that’s probably built into your wireless network router), but having more than one may cause conflicts and problems.
  • Anti-Spyware – An anti-spyware program can scan your computer for known spyware applications and remove them. Most commercial products offer both antivirus/anti-spyware all built into one security application.

In summary, firewalls help protect against worms and hackers, antivirus apps help protect against viruses, and antimalware apps help protect against malware. You need all three.