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Healthy Hints

Healthy Hints - Healthy Computer

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Ensuring a healthy computer can help to avoid the stress and annoyance associated with a number of serious threats, such as:

  • Losing important work, precious pictures and videos, or your music library
  • Identity theft for fraudulent use
  • Monetary loss due to stolen passwords
  • Leaving you with an unusable computer

There is however a number of easy and most often free solutions that can help.  Following is a list of these and we recommend that you have all of them in place so to provide the best protection.

Antivirus Software

Antivirus Software



An antivirus program is a must have and can prevent your computer from being infected and can also attempt to clean-up an already infected computer of malicious software.  Such infections are computer programs that when active on a computer can do anything it likes, such as:

  • Corrupt, delete or steal your documents, pictures and programs.
  • Pretend to be a security solution product and report an infection and request money in order to remove the problem.  Typically these programs are the infection and are holding your computer to ransom.
  • Quietly use your computer and Internet connection to send unsolicited emails (SPAM) around the World.  An indication of a slower than normal computer or Internet connection may be an indicator of this happening.
  • Monitor your keyboard and web activity recording passwords and login credentials for sites that they can steal assets from you.
  • Quietly download additional infections making it more difficult to fully clean.

Antivirus software typically protect you by being a virtual gatekeeper between your computer and the outside world, checking any new data or software for possible infections.  Detection is mainly based on looking for a match against a list of known viruses that the antivirus program will automatically and periodically often download updates to.  These are typically used to protect your computer in the following ways:

  • Real-time Monitoring
    Malicious software can only be effective when it's actively being run by your computer.  Therefore antivirus software checks all new programs and data as it's transferred between storage devices, computer memory and the Internet.
  • Scheduled Scans
    This is when the antivirus software does a background check of the data on your computer's hard disks to see if any viruses are waiting to be activated.

Free Software

There are a variety of antivirus programs available.  Below is a list of some that offer free versions.  Please note that the following external links are provided for your convenience and that their inclusion does not imply any endorsement.

Updates

Windows Updates & Software Updates



As with any large piece of software, they are likely to contain errors.  Some of these errors can be exploited in order to get your computer to perform malicious or wanted tasks.  As these exploits get identified, software producers fix and offer them as updates.  Therefore, it is essential to keep your operating system & other software up-to-date.

Although Windows can remind you if it is not up-to-date, these reminders can be disabled if the computer is infected.  With the new version of CyberFlair Healthy Hints installed, this is an additional program that will check that Windows Updates are functioning.

However, it is always worth occasionally, manually checking to see if updates are waiting and whether there are any problems.  To see this area of Microsoft Windows configuration, you can:

Within CyberFlair Healthy Hints
Press the 'Action Selected Item...' button in the Windows Update health report window and select 'Show Windows Update settings...'.

Firewall

Firewall



A firewall provides an intelligent security barrier between your computer and its network connection and typically come in two flavors.

  • Hardware Firewall
    If your Internet connection is established by a broadband modem or router, it is likely already acting as a firewall by intelligently preventing remote computers making connections into your network.
  • Software Firewall
    Windows offers a free software firewall which again restricts network connections coming into the computer.  As it is software-based, they can be more tailored to your computer's network activities as their filtering rules can be related to each program requesting network access.  For more information, see Windows Help on Windows Firewall.
Website Reputation

Website Reputation Software

These are usually provided as a handy plug-in to your Web Browser and provides protection by alerting you if you are shown a website that has known to be associated with suspicious activity.  This is extremely useful for protection against scam emails containing links to bogus websites that look like legitimate services in the hope you'll enter personal information.  The better products will also check each search result presented from the popular search engines, making it clear which websites are worth avoiding.  It should be mentioned that these programs typically do this by securely asking a remote server about the reputation of each website being presented, so do ensure that you are happy with this.

Free Software

There are a variety of website reputation programs available.  Below is a list of some that offer free versions.  Please note that the following external links are provided for your convenience and that their inclusion does not imply any endorsement.

Backup Data

Backup Your Data

To prevent the permanent loss of your important data due to viruses, accidents or mechanical failure, you should ensure that your data is backed up regularly.  Below are some tips that can make the backup process more effective:

  • It's best if you store your documents in the locations recommended by Windows, otherwise backup software may not find all of your data files.
  • Keep a generation of past backups rather than just the latest.  Otherwise, you could be backing up the corrupt versions.
  • Keep copies of the backup at a different location; otherwise a local fire or disaster could destroy your originals and the backups.
  • If you've password protected your backups, make sure you don't forget the password.
  • Perform backups frequently based on how much work you're willing to lose.
  • Occasionally test those backups, you might find that some data has been missed.

Free Software

Some versions of Windows do come with free backup software, and if the component is installed, can be found under:

  • Windows 10, All Settings » Update & System » Backup
  • Windows 8, Control Panel » System and Security » File History
  • Windows 7, Control Panel » System and Security » Backup and Restore
  • Windows Vista, Control Panel » System and Maintenance » Backup and Restore
  • Windows XP, All Programs » Accessories » System Tools » Backup

Software provided with CD & DVD writers can also come with backup tools.

CyberFlair Healthy Hints
If you wish to know more about the CyberFlair Healthy Hints product, check out:
   » The product's features page.
   » The product's online help topics.


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