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Did you recently get a new computer for the upcoming school year? Find out how to protect your investment from inadvertently downloaded malware (malicious software).
Malware can cause your computer to run slowly or possibly not even run at all.
Here’s how you can help protect against malware:
1. Use the most secure version of Office yet, Microsoft Office 2010, when you create your school assignments. To help protect your computer, files from the Internet and other potentially unsafe locations are opened in Protected View. By using Protected View, you can read a file and inspect its contents thereby reducing the risks that can occur from a file that contains malware. To learn about more of the security features and capabilities of Office 2010 see the following self-paced training in Office.com, Office 2010 Security: Protecting your files.
2. Install software patches. Ensure your operating system (OS) and applications, such as Windows 7 and Office 2010, have all the most recent software patches applied. For more information see the following article in Microsoft.com, Microsoft Update.
3. Update your antivirus software. Not only should you be running antivirus software on your computer but you should also ensure that it is kept up-to-date. You can download and use Microsoft’s antivirus application, Security Essentials, for free. Security Essentials also provides automatic updates, making sure you are running the most up-to-date software.
4. Use Internet Explorer (IE) 9 with SmartScreen Filter turned on when you browse the Internet. SmartScreen Filter is a feature in IE 9 that helps detect phishing websites and can also help protect you from downloading or installing malware. To learn more about SmartScreen Filter and other features of IE 9 see the following article in Microsoft.com, Internet Explorer 9 features: SmartScreen Filter. TechWorld.com reported about independent testing by NSS Labs that shows IE 9 outperforming the other tested browsers in blocking unintentional or inadvertent downloads of malware (also known as drive-by downloads) from the Internet.
5. Password protect your computer. Using a strong password is among the most important steps you can take to protect your computer from hackers and other unwelcome users. To learn more see the following article in Microsoft.com, Tips for creating a strong password.
After you apply these five computer security tips, your computer will be better protected against malicious content. That should give you more time to work on the things you love to do, like studying and writing papers.
-- Ross Carter
Today’s blog post about computer security was written by Ross Carter. Ross is a technical writer on the Office Resource Kit team where he focuses on writing security guidance for IT professionals. Ross has over 20 years of industry experience working in different capacities with security and networking products and technologies. Ross is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and holds a master's degree in science specializing in telecommunications.
User comment (just to make sure that I avoid confusion):
6) Consider upgrading your Windows environment to Windows 7 (if you're using Windows XP it might be a good idea to warm up to and if you're on Windows Vista I'd personally recommend it quite seriously for several reasons).
truth be told I think that downgrading your account on Windows to that of a regular user (and password protecting the admin account!) will have a much deeper impact than merely password protecting your own account. After all; the moment you visit "weird" webites (or start "weird" software) then your own password isn't going to do you much good, esp. if you're an admin. Then it will heavily matter what kind of account you're using.
Not trying to go too technical here but if I try to add nastyness to my global Office environment (meaning: into global locations, so outside my main environment where I might not notice it) I won't succeed. For example the "trusted location" (read up on this!) "\program files\Microsoft Office\Templates". Here's what I get:
PS C:\Users\Peter> New-Item -Path 'C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates' -type "File" -Name "nasty.txt" -Value 'this is a nasty text file! beware!'
New-Item : Toegang tot het pad C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Templates\nasty.txt is geweigerd.
In short: Using PowerShell under normal credentials (my own account "Peter") I try to create a file into the location mentioned above. With the results of a (localized) error message telling me that access to that file has been denied.
I'm well aware that you're trying to reach "non-techies" so to speak and I really applaud the effort. It can't be said enough that you should always be careful. Still; being a 'techie' I couldn't resist this one.
Good to see that up to date Windows and office is at the top of the list! This is the most important foundation for good security.