Introduction to security with Windows
Securing your computer is a complex topic. Possible actions are endless and many of these actions restrict the scope of your activities to legitimate users, which means that there is always a trade-off between security and usability. Combine this with the fact that some of them require expert knowledge for proper configuration, and it becomes clear that it's hard for me to present a list like the one below. Not only does I focus on a single aspect of security, but such a list can not possibly be complete. What I can do about it is to try to create a base that I believe provides an acceptable basis, is generic and light enough so that I can recommend it to most end users, leaving most of your freedom / comfort intact so you are not turned off by the cons. I recommend everyone to keep as many of these practices as they can, because the list below is not nearly all you can do to protect yourself, just a good start.
Tip # 1 - Do not use a Windows older than Windows 7
Forget all Windows versions, older than Windows 7. For real. If you're using Windows XP or Vista, I know you'll be happy to not follow this recommendation since reinstalling the OS is not just a hassle, but setting up everything else afterwards is a time-consuming PITA. But please note you only have to deal once, and it really is important. There are many problems with older versions of Windows, including non-existent support, security issues, outdated protection technologies, useless UAC, and so on.
Tip # 2 - Keep your software updated
After you install the operating system and software, they should be updated regularly. Turning for automatic updating on in your applications (or just not turning off) is a seamless and frustration free method for keeping you always up to date. Then again, some users prefer to turn off their updaters (for good reasons as well, now not gonna work), but it happens I also have a solution for them. A life without automatic updates would not be so bad if you not only had to look for updates by app-by-app. Well, you do not. You can only use a centralized updater for all programs that scan your computer automatically (whenever you want or periodically) and will notify you of available updates. One such app I've found to work well (and also has a focus on security) is Secunia PSI. If you want a good app that will not only search for updates but also download and install them in one place, you will also need to check CNET TechTracker, although for this latter you will need a free CNET account to get the most out of it out.
Tip # 3 - say "no" for crap in installers
Ever wondered how all of these browser toolbars were installed on your PC? This is like. Installers of free software often try to install extra things on your computer that you never asked, they do it because they get paid for every such installation. However, if you are alarmed during setup, you can tell you legitimate software not to install other crap on your machine. This extra software is not only useless, most times are, but they are a liability for both your privacy and security - "Which software has the least holes on my computer," you ask - "Well, of course, the one who does not even is installed! "Keep an open eye and not just automatically" continue "in installers, but check if the current page is asking for your consent to setup unnecessary stuff. Just say "No!", No need to feel discouraged to do this. They will try to trick you into them.
Tip # 4 - Get a router, it's a bit of a hardware firewall
For your home, get a router if you do not already have one. Better routers have very good firewalls with sophisticated features, but even cheap ones are good inbound protection due to the fact that they do their NAT. You will protect against many attacks, even if all the objections of your PC are down. Besides, a router is a requirement anyway, if you want to connect to the internet multiple devices at home. Depending on what type of internet connection you have, your provider might also be that you have one (in which case they will throw one at you for free). Routers impose some extra configuration on you sometimes for a small number of applications, but since these devices are so prevalent, guides on the internet are a lot to help you in rare cases.
Tip # 5 - You also need a software firewall
Most firewalls in routers can only filter inbound connections, and even the others that can do outbound filters are absolutely incompetent in distinguishing between two applications if they use the same ports. Which in this case means that they will not be able to tell your browser about malware! Software firewalls can do this differentiation. If you think it's already too late, when infected, think twice. Even after it infects, an outbound firewall can limit the activation or spread of the virus inside the computer (through control connections or the Download disallowing additional malware), or prevent it from spreading on your network. Also, do not just think about malware. Privacy is closely related to security, and quite often limiting even legitimate software is part of protecting your privacy.
Tip 6 - Disable AutoRun / Autoplay
It's one of the first things I do after I install each system: disable all autoruns. Read this article about the necessary steps. It protects you from your friend's infected USB stick, which is not yet clear that he has a virus on it. This tip is also important for those of you with laptops. If you have autoruns enabled, all you need is 3 seconds to infect your computer with all kinds of malignancy. Just plug in a properly prepared USB drive, wait a second, and unplug it, you would not even notice, because it usually takes longer if you basically turn everything around.
Tip # 7 - Antivirus are relics, but still useful
No matter what a company tells you how advanced their anti-virus technology, anti-virus software are just just stupid. I mean, not their principle or purpose, but the way they try to detect malware. Can not be helped, that's how current technology is. While you can be significantly better than others, they are all primitive and all you hear is just marketing. Chances are you've already heard others say malware and anti-virus are a cat-and-mouse game. This is nothing new and has always been the case, but with the Internet getting as ubiquitous as never before, innovations in antivirus technology basically non-existent, and the number, sophistication, and even the financing of malware exploding quickly is cat's more and more behind the mouse. Get an anti-virus if the performance of your computer can afford it, it does not hurt (* usually * coughs). An antivirus is a wear layer in your computer's security, but does not overestimate its value. If you only rely on an antivirus as your only line of defense, the security of your computer is pretty bad.
Tip 8 - UAC is your friend now
UAC managed to get a really bad reputation it was unbearably unfriendly in Windows Vista. As a result, Vista users turn off, but not only that, many users of Windows 7 turn off because they are used to that under Vista. And tell truth, I can not blame them. Although it was much more secure, it was a disaster for the user experience. Thankfully, Microsoft learned and updated UAC in Windows 7, at which point it became very usable while still maintaining a reasonable level of security. Importantly, what many users do not realize is that UAC is much more than just the confirmation dialog that appears when a program tries to gain admin privileges - that's just what's directly visible to the layman. It adds a load of protection and virtualization behind-the-scenes from the bathroom gut, even when no UAC prompt is displayed. Do not turn it off.
Tip # 9 - Choose your passwords well
Current research shows, if each password should be at least eight characters long, you can cut it 6, if you want, but not less. Try to have lowercase and uppercase letters in it, as well as numbers. Never make personal information (such as your or your name's name, date of birth, address, etc.) part of your password because as unlikely as it may seem, an attacker may already know these, and variations of it are gonna be the first things he tries , Oh, and do not use the same password everywhere. I know (hell, everyone knows) that good passwords are hard to remember and annoying, but they are important. To facilitate your load, use a password manager like KeePass. It will generate good passwords, remember and organize them and will also enter them for you when asked. That way, you just have to remember one password (but be sure to keep it very safe) and the rest will not be a fight anymore.
Tip # 10 - Use your common sense
Maybe the most important advice I can give you is. That's right, if you decide to implement just one thing from this list and no longer do it! The rule is simple: read, think, decide. Probably the most extreme injuries are due to user errors (yep, I'm talking about you), to which you too are tricked. Take everything you see in internet ads with a grain of salt (or better, just ignore it completely). Offers that are too good to be true are not true. Remember that the "From" address in emails is easily forged. Carve it deep in your mind that a legitimate institution, company or website never-never-never asks for a password in mail. Is an email hanging out as it usually hangs? Then think twice before you believe something, it says. and what's the chance an oil millionaire want to give you some of his stock? You are Hansel and every suspicious story is a sweet home in front of you.