Computer security is the process of preventing and detecting unauthorized use of your computer. Prevention measures help you to stop unauthorized users (also known as "intruders, hackers, attackers or crackers") from accessing your computer from remote locations. Detection helps you to determine whether or not someone attempted to break into your system. Often they want to gain control of your computer so they can use it to launch attacks on other computer systems.
We use computers for everything from banking and investing to shopping and communicating with others through email or chat programs. Although you may not consider your communications "top secret," you probably do not want strangers reading your email, using your computer to attack other systems, sending forged email from your computer, or examining personal information stored on your computer (such as financial statements). Intruders may be able to watch all your actions on the computer, or cause damage to your computer by reformatting your hard drive or changing your data.
Having control of your computer gives them the ability to hide their actual location as they launch attacks, often against high-profile computer systems such as government or financial systems. Even if you have a computer connected to the Internet only to play the latest games or to send email to friends and family, your computer may be a target.
Unfortunately, intruders are always discovering new vulnerabilities (informally called "holes") to exploit in computer software. The complexity of software makes it increasingly difficult to thoroughly test the security of computer systems.
No matter how a home computer is connected to the Internet, intruders attacks are often successful. Many home computer owners don’t realize that they need to pay attention to computer security. In the same way that you are responsible for having insurance when you drive a car, you need to also be responsible for your home computer’s security. We will explain how some parts of the Internet work and then describes tasks you can do to improve the security of your home computer system. The goal is to keep intruders and their programs off your computer.
A firewall helps keep hackers from using your computer to send out your personal information without your permission. While anti-virus software scans incoming email and files, a firewall is like a guard, watching for outside attempts to access your system and blocking communications to and from sources you don't permit. It restricts information that comes to your computer from other computers, giving you more control over the data on your computer and providing a line of defense against people or programs (including viruses and worms) that try to connect to your computer without invitation. You can think of a firewall as a barrier that checks information (often called traffic) coming from the Internet or a network and then either turns it away or allows it to pass through to your computer, depending on your firewall settings.
Social networking websites like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Windows Live Spaces and many other are services people can use to connect with others to share information like photos, videos, and personal messages. As the popularity of these social sites grows, so do the risks of using them. Hackers, spammers, virus writers, identity thieves, and other criminals follow the traffic.
Read these tips to help protect yourself when you use social networks.
Definitions of spam usually include the aspects that email is unsolicited and sent in bulk. Email spam has steadily grown since the early 1990s. Botnets, networks of virus-infected computers, are used to send about 80% of spam. Since the cost of the spam is borne mostly by the recipient.