How do I protect my new computer; 5 steps you can take on your own

By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller

“I’m not sure but I think I’ve sent my personal information off to a scam website,” says Paul Whitney of Meridian. “I was looking for MacAfee, and when I logged in, I received an email from deskhelpHUB with an invoice.”

Whitney, trying to make certain his anti-virus protection was up-to-date, says the computer website walked him through the process, install and updated his virus and malware protection with the latest software and sent him a bill.

“Well, they’ve done everything I wanted, but I thought I was dealing directly with MacAfee” he says. “Should I be worried?”

First, always make certain to check the URL … you know that little address at the top of the page. Make certain it’s exactly where you want to go. Next, make certain the person you’re talking to identifies him/herself. Keeping your computer safe is crucial to protect your personal and financial identity, and legitimate companies are there to help. Help Desk HUB is registered with Colorado Secretary of State and operates as a service provider for various software and hardware products, questions and compatibility issues. They are not registered or  accredited with the Better Business Bureau.

Here are some 5 tips to help you:

  • Use a firewall. Even though hackers usually affect large company websites that does not mean that home networks are completely safe. With a firewall in place, you can control your security, and filter what information from the Internet is safe and what is not.
  • Use caution when giving out personal information on the Internet. We hear it all the time, but do we really listen? Use software to keep information safe, and only give out your information if you trust the company. Check the BBB Business Review before buying from a company of which you have no direct knowledge.
  • Ignore your preconceived notions. Kids hack too. It’s hard to imagine a teenager that has the power and knowledge to bring a network of computers to their knees, but it’s been done. According to Martha Stansell-Gamm, head of the Justice Department’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, an 18-year-old “instructed 7,000 computers to attack Microsoft networks.” Teach your children safe computer practices, just as you would teach them that robbing a bank or drunken driving is wrong. Just because it’s virtual doesn’t mean the consequences are virtual too.
  • Don’t open suspicious emails. It’s relatively common knowledge that you shouldn’t open an email that touts “FREE FREE FREE” or “VIAGRA CHEAP” in the subject line, but the landscape of email viruses has changed in the last few years. Now, viruses can appear as if they are coming from someone in your contacts. Make sure to watch subject lines, even if you know the sender, and if you are the victim of an email virus, immediately warn your contacts because they are the next target. After that, change your password often over the next few weeks.
  • Back up your information. Viruses can affect just your email, but, too often, they spread throughout your entire computer. Setting up a new computer can be painful if done improperly. You could lose pictures, documents and music. Same can happen if you don’t protect it. Once a month, once a week, even once a day, take the time to back up information that you can’t live without.
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3 Comments

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3 responses to “How do I protect my new computer; 5 steps you can take on your own

  1. Mark Burrows

    It is a tricky business. As said, some products may be extremely popular and highly recommended, but the problem is that they are distributed through so many third party sites, you will never be clear on who from or what exactly you are purchasing from. It’s risky.
    Even still. some products, that are top notch reliable, just do not take care of the transaction process of charging you through your credit cards, and let a reliable service do that for them. This is where some scam artists like to wedge themselves in. They will propagate the third party site themselves, then created the credit card fund collecting services as well. One of the reasons I prefer PayPal, if a site accepts PayPal, PayPal will not let them walk off with people’s money. Every transaction is scrutinized by PayPal and emails come in fast. Way faster than info from credit cards.
    Still, if at all possible, always try to purchase from the software manufacture site.
    At the site you should be able to learn what service they use to collect funding from credit cards. Big companies will have their own credit card funding retrieval systems. For example, as for anti virus I use Norton which of course is a division of Symantec Corp. which is huge. I renew automatically each year, but when that time comes, they never do it without confirmation that I want the update. Unless they have the update ready before my version is dried out I can purchase it and they will give me time between my purchase and the date of my renewal, free. So, I could have the next version for 14 or 15 months if I wished to hold out. So, it’s nice to have a little time to adjust my budget.

    Mark Burrows.

  2. WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for Find

  3. Mark Burrows

    Another thing of note, I am sure I mentioned it. If you have good reliable software in place. Never let any notification that shows up on a website tell you that your computer is at risk, running slow, or any such nonsense.
    Think about it. How would they know? If you have your computer set up that so that there is no automatic or open access to your computer, and you should, it is virtually impossible for them to determine the health and status of your computer. If you do have a problem, your reliable software will have detected it and informed you.
    Another point, do not download any trial offers unless they provide a limited time full version of their software. This becomes really annoying when you run the trial software and it tells you all of these serious problems, and then tells you in order to fix them, you must purchase the software. Serious scam, but not illegal because you push buttons to agree to terms and conditions. I could give you the Latin phrase for it, but spell checker doesn’t understand Latin, let alone proper English, but that’s another of my personal grievances you do need to concern yourself with.
    However, you need to be concerned about what the internet has to offer and what is suitable, reliable, and affordable. The only way to learn that is by research. Read product reviews, not ones listed on the manufacture sites because obviously they are going to be jaded and favorable to their own product. Yet, there are plenty of forums, blogs, and dedicated review sites that are independent, and you should read a broad spectrum of these reviews. It will not take long to get a feel of how consumers and end users pick or pan products from their own experiences.
    Research is your most valuable tool.

    Mark Burrows

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