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File Encryption

Assuming you do everything right and hackers and bad code never manage to make it into your system, you're still at risk for someone stealing your computer physically (particularly in the case of laptops). For this reason, it's important to take the time to learn how to use file encryption.

For Windows users, there is an option to make your files private, but in most versions of Windows, this doesn't work very well. Without getting really nerdy-technical as to why, let's just say that having a separate encryption program is a good idea.


Encryption made easy
Encryption made easy

In cases where your computer is stolen or if you are worried about anyone you know accessing certain folders and files on your computer, you might want to protect them behind strong encryption.

Truecrypt lets you create an encrypted file container that works like a folder, but looks as if it were a file full of random data. To use the encrypted container, you select it in Truecrypt, enter your password (which should be a very strong one), and the program will "mount" the file as if it were a removable hard drive on your system.

While mounted, you can copy files and folder to and from your "drive" and organize them as if it were a second hard drive or thumb drive plugged into your computer. When you're done, you "dismount" the container and it returns to its strongly encrypted state while looking like a simple file full of random data.

It's easy to set up and use as the documentation is very straighforward and includes a step-by-step walkthrough with pictures.

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Security Software

Make sure you have a up-to-date Anti-Virus Program to protect you against bad websites or files.
Sometimes spyware gets in your computer and the anti-virus won't stop it. Use a spyware scanner to find and remove spyware and adware.
Use a software firewall to detect bad code on your computer when it tries to connect to the Internet.
Always keep your system up to date with security patches or none of the rest of your security software will matter.
Use an encryption tool to protect your important data when storing or transmitting it.
Switch to Firefox for your web browsing and you'll be better protected from Internet threats.

Safe Computing Practices

Don't get tricked by fake alerts or clever webpages into downloading viruses or spyware!
IDENTITY THEFT
How to Steal Identities - Why It's So Easy
Credit Freeze
Data Defense
Credit Monitoring
Id Theft Insurance
The Identity Theft Victim's Mini-Guide to Recovery
PRIVACY
The Geek Privacy Principle
Nothing to Hide
Data Abuse
RFID - Radio Frequency IDentification
Privacy Alias/Persona
Data Defense
INTERNET SAFETY
Online Addiction
The Consequences of Posting Online
Photo Safety
Tricks and Scams
Account Hijacking
Trusting Companies
PASSWORDS
Bad Passwords
Password Tips and Tricks
Password Protection
Password Mugging
Computer Security
E-mail Safety
Kids and Computers
Shopping Online
Retailers
All About Warranties

Anti-Virus

A virus can come from files, e-mails, web pages, or even devices you plug in (like thumbdrives or printers) and destroy your files or your computer once they get in. An anti-virus is software designed to detect and prevent that from happening.

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Spyware Scanners

Learn how to detect and remove spyware and adware using a free scanning tool.

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Software Firewall

Learn what a firewall is and why you want one on your computer.

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Operating System Updates

Make sure to keep your operating system up-to-date with security patches or else none of the rest of your security software will be able to protect you.

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File Encryption

Learn how to protect your important files on your computer or when transmitting them with free tools for file encryption.

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Mozilla Firefox - Internet Browser

There are many browser choices out there. Read why I think Firefox is one of the best.

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Fake Alerts

Maybe you've done everything right and you're computer is sufficiently fortress-like, but then you or someone in your family falls for a simple scam that tricks them into directly installing the bad guy's virus! Learn how to spot and ignore fakes!

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