Computer Security Day 2012: Data Safety Tips

November 30 is Computer Security Day 2012. Ant Pruitt shares some of quick and simple security tips.

November 30 is international Computer Security Day 2012. After getting through this year — the year of the hacker, if you ask me — it’s time to get serious about security. Here are some tips I collected to keep your data secure.

Image credit Wikimedia Commons

Be mindful of email senders

If you receive an email from an unknown sender, don’t take a chance with it.  Mark it as spam and delete it.  Phishing schemes are used today to gather personal information of yours that could be used maliciously.   It’s common to get bogus emails from financial institutions stating “your account information needs to be updated.”  With this, they tend to ask you to click on an embedded link that leads you to a fake website which appears to be your financial institution’s.  This site will then collect all of your entered information.

Use secure passwords

The holiday season will have a lot of consumer shopping online for gifts.  Be sure all of your online shopping accounts are secured with strong passwords.  Don’t use typical passwords such as a pet’s name.  Use at least eight characters including a mix of numerals, letters and special characters.  When setting up the password retrieval process in case your password is forgotten, be sure to use security answers only you would know.  A common security question is the date of birth option.  Don’t use this.  If you have no other choice, use a fake date of birth that only you can remember.

Keep your antivirus software updated

Antivirus and security software come pre-loaded on most computers sold today.  Typically these are trial versions and expire. Watch for the expiration date of the software license.  Check out your options. Definitely meet all deadlines if decide not to switch — and install new virus protection as soon as you decide to switch.

These are just a few items in helping to keep your personal computers secure.  What security tips do you have to share?  There are a lot of different ways to secure your computers and even your mobile devices.  Leave us your tips in the comments below.

To see all of Ant’s stories, click here.



  • I personally prefer MSE for my AV. Pros:-
    – It’s free (and there’s no paid tier above it)
    – It auto-updates
    – Your computer doesn’t take a huge hit in boot-up times and performance
    – It’s made by the company that has the most to lose by it — what better trust can you get that that?

  • Trust your instincts. If it feels like a trap, then more than likely it is a trap. Also remember that if you get an email that says it’s from you to you, check your sent file. Nothing there, then it’s most likely spoofed spam unless you gave someone access to your email. Did you really do that?