Get to know how to use virus protection software. We recommend the use of anti-virus software on all Internet-connected computers. Be sure to keep your anti-virus software up-to-date. Many anti-virus packages support automatic updates of virus definitions. We recommend the use of these automatic updates when available.
We strongly recommend the use of some type of firewall product, such as a network appliance or a personal firewall software package. Intruders are constantly scanning home user systems for known vulnerabilities. Network fire walls (whether software or hardware-based) can provide some degree of protection against these attacks. However, no firewall can detect or stop all attacks, so it’s not sufficient to install a firewall and then ignore all other security measures.
Before opening any e-mail attachments, be sure you know the source of the attachment. It is not enough that the mail originated from an address you recognize. The Melissa virus spread precisely because it originated from a familiar address. Malicious code might be distributed in amusing or enticing programs.
Never run a program unless you know it to be authored by a person or company that you trust. Also, don’t send programs of unknown origin to your friends or coworkers simply because they are amusing they might contain a Trojan horse program
Keep a copy of important files on removable media such as ZIP disks or record able CD-ROM disks (CD-R or CD-RW disks). Use software backup tools if available, and store the backup disks somewhere away from the computer.
Be aware of the risks involved in the use of “mobile code” such as Active X, Java, and Java Script. A malicious web developer may attach a script to something sent to a web site, such as a URL, an element in a form, or a database inquiry. Later, when the web site responds to you, the malicious script is transferred to your browser.
To aid in recovering from a security breach or hard disk failure, create a boot disk on a floppy disk which will help when recovering a computer after such an event has occurred. Remember, however, you must create this disk before you have a security event.