Computer Safety 101

By: Sydney Singleton- October 13, 2015

The Use of Passwords

Wondering how to protect a file? One way is to save it and/or send it in an encrypted format. Protecting a computer or file with a password is also important. This helps you prevent other people from opening your documents, workbooks, and presentations. You would not leave your car or home unlocked because it contains valuable contents. In the same way, you should password protect your files and your computer.

According to, 11% of people have had their computer or smartphone hacked. This is because most people do not have strong passwords. Hackers are everywhere and usually go for the most unsuspecting people. You always need to have a strong password. It should be at least 8 characters long with an uppercase letter, a number, and a special character. Don’t use the same password for everything.

Remembering your password can be difficult. Here are some tips to help you remember! Relate your password to your favorite hobby or sport with a Passphrase. This is where you take a phrase, song, book, or movie, and use it in your password. You can also substitute numbers and symbols for letters in an easy-to-remember phrase. An example is h3llo2u. If you are horrible at remembering passwords or have too many, you can use the application Lastpass or One pass to store your passwords.

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How Do I Protect My Computer From Viruses?

Has your computer been running slow lately? If so, it might have a virus. Viruses usually have detrimental effects, such as corrupting the system or destroying data. Sometimes you might have a virus and not even know it! Here are some signs that will tell you if something is wrong with your computer and how to fix it

Pop-Up Ads

Pop-Up Ads will usually tell you that a virus has appeared and ask you to download a paid program to remove it. But you are only downloading more malware! One way to solve this problem is to run a scan with a separate anti-spyware program. I suggest using SpyBot Search & Destroy or Ad-Aware. These programs point out dangerous ads that are trying to infect your computer.

Mysterious Emails

Have you noticed friends and family replying to emails you didn’t send? This is a sign that someone has hacked you. The first thing you should do to try and fix this is to alert your friends and family immediately! Sometimes emails will contain a tempting link. And if they click this link, they become infected and the virus spreads even further.

Slow Computer

Some striking signs that your computer has a virus are; it fails to shut down right away, or the machine slows down or crashes. To ensure the safety of your computer, make sure your software is always up to date. And also back up your computer often. This step is the most important because if your software is out of date, it can cause a lot of things to go wrong.

You need to make sure that you do the following:

1. Keep your software updated

2. Don’t click on links within emails

3. Use free antivirus software

4. Back up your computer

5. Use a strong password

6. Use a firewall

7. Cut down on downloads

8. Use a pop-up blocker

Once you complete these eight steps, your computer will be a lot “healthier”!

Backup Recommendations

Have you recently backed up your files? If not, you may be at risk of losing them. But don't worry, I will teach you how to save them so it won't happen again.

To backup your files means to make extra copies of data in case the original is lost. You should always try to backup your files because you may have something important on them and what happens if they get damaged? Most businesses do this so everything is protected including their most significant documents. Once the files are lost, there is no hope in getting them back.

The first thing you need to do to backup your files is open up Backup and Restore. You can do this by clicking the Start button, Control Panel, System Maintenance, then by clicking Backup and Restore. If you need more help, then visit Windows Help and follow the steps in the wizard.

Once you do this, your files will be safe and sound!

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Recovering From a Virus Attack

Do you have a computer? If so, you could be one of the 25% of people who are infected with a virus. It can cause your PC to act in strange ways such as going dark, or not launching programs.

Viruses spread like wildfire! Once it sidesteps your home computer's security defenses, it can rip through your system, and can harm your computers in many ways.

If you suspect that your computer was hit by a virus then disconnect the machine. Once your computer is disconnected, you need to remove the malicious code. You should use special removal tools. Your antivirus software should have updates or patches available for the specific security threat. If this software wasn't updated recently, be sure to do so.

Before using your computer again, you need to restore your computer to its original condition. Then install antivirus software if you don't have it already and use the software to scan your entire computer including all files and documents.

If you haven't followed a regular schedule of backing up on CDs, an external hard drive, or remote storage site, your files will be permanently lost. Above all, learn from this experience. Ask yourself why your previous security measures weren't effective. Are you opening suspicious emails? Are files being downloaded without being scanned first?

Now is an ideal time to comb through, edit, and reinforce your home computer security policy. To play it safe, always run antivirus software and keep virus definitions current and you should be good to go!

Common Sense Security Practices

How can someone be safe while at work? How should they sit at their desks? How about fire safety? How should a workplace be safe for the employees? If you want to know the answers to these common questions, you came to the right place! Here are some tips to solve these problems.

Workers have the responsibility to take care of their health and safety. You have to pay attention to the training you receive, especially when operating machinery. If you are not sure if what you're doing is right, ask for supervision, so you don’t hurt yourself or others. Always wear protective clothing if your job requires it. Report all hazards and injuries to your supervisor. If you can’t remember the safety rules, ask a coworker to help you.

To be comfortable where you work, you need correct ergonomics or the way you sit at your desk. First, push your hips back all the way, so you don’t slump in your chair. Next, adjust the seat height so your feet are flat on the floor, and your knees equal to your hip. Then put your chair back at a one hundred degrees angle to be alert while you are working. If you have an armrest, adjust it to where your shoulders relaxed. After following these instructions, you should be on your peak performance at your job.

How you react to a fire depends on how well you prepare for an emergency. Offices should inform all workers of the rules if there is ever an emergency in their workplace. Otherwise, the place would be crazy! Here are some easy ways to remember the basic procedures of a fire emergency. According to the Department of Environment, Health, and Safety:

R: Remove anyone from immediate danger.

A: Activate the building fire alarm and call 911.

C: Confine the fire by closing all windows and doors.

E: Evacuate, leave the building.”