Advice from an expert

 

Coming to the rescue is something Bill Schubert, owner of Friendly Computers, knows a lot about. From battling malicious viruses to reclaiming lost data, he and his fellow tech-knights bravely travel into the digital world in order to keep their clients safe. Bill shares a few simple tactics that will help ensure the security of your computer-castle.

 What is the biggest threat to computer security?

The biggest security threat is the user. Seventy-five percent of the problems we fix are software problems, and mostly it’s user-induced by a virus or by downloading a poorly written program, which is like a virus.

How can users shield themselves from viruses?

Be wary. Imagine you’re walking down a street in a big city all the time. Don’t assume that things are safe. If you get a pop-up ad or an email that says, “You’ve got to see this picture of ________” or “You’ve got a Hallmark card,” don’t click on it! There’s almost always a virus. Resist the urge to click on ads for the latest music and free stuff. If you’re on Yahoo! or MSN or one of the main sites like that and click on it, you’re okay.

What is essential to fortifying your computer?

Update your software like Java, Adobe Flash, and Windows. These three account for security loopholes. People are afraid to do the one thing they need to do, which is to click on the icon in the lower right-hand corner of the screen that directs them to “Update” one of those three programs. Update. Update. Update. Always. Always. Always. If you update continuously, generally you’ll be safe.

How do you protect your personal data?

There are a couple of things that’ll save you from total ruin. First, save your data away from your computer or “offsite.” Also, save all your programs. If you run something like Microsoft Office, save the discs that you used to install the program on your computer. Finally, make sure you have a restore disc. When you get a computer nowadays and turn it on, it’ll say “make restore disc.” You’ll need three DVDs; then follow the on-screen instructions. For older computers, click on the Windows icon and type “recovery” into the search box. Look for “Recovery disc creator” or something like that and follow the instructions. If you have these three, it’s a piece of cake to bring everything back.

By Tiffany R. White
Photos by Tina Lopez

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