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May 1, 2024

Computer Health Practices

Keeping Your Computer Healthy

The Internet is a powerful and useful tool, but in the same way that you shouldn’t drive without buckling your seat belt, you shouldn’t venture online without taking some basic precautions. Most households now run devices linked to the Internet, including computers, laptops, gaming devices, TVs, tablets, and smartphones that access wireless networks. To protect your home network and your family, you need to have the right tools in place and confidence that family members can use the Internet safely and securely.


Viruses are harmful computer programs that can be transmitted in a number of ways, and are designed to spread themselves from one computer to another through the Internet. Most commonly, they are designed to give the criminals who create them some sort of access to the infected computers.


The terms “spyware” and “adware” apply to several different technologies. The two important things to know about them is that:

  • They can download themselves onto your computer without your permission.
  • They can make your computer do things you don’t want it to do. In the worst cases, spyware can track your online movements, steal your passwords and compromise your accounts.


Botnets are networks of computers infected by malware and controlled remotely by criminals. Botnets are designed to harvest personal information. The info is then used for identity theft, credit card fraud, spamming, website attacks, and malware distribution.

Secure Your Wireless Router

Change the name of your router:
The default ID is assigned by the manufacturer. Change your router to a name that is unique to you and won’t be easily guessed by others.
Change the preset password on your router:
When creating a new password, make sure it is long and strong, using a mix of numbers, letters and symbols.
Review security options:
When choosing your router’s level of security, opt for WPA2, if available, or WPA. They are more secure than the WEP option.
Use a firewall:
Firewalls help 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 attempts to access your system and blocking communications with sources you don’t permit. Your operating system and/or security software likely comes with a pre-installed firewall, but make sure you turn on these features.

Protect Yourself with These Tips

  1. Keep security software current: Having the latest security software, web browser and operating system is the best defense against viruses, malware and other online threats.
  2. Protect all devices that connect to the Internet: smartphones, gaming systems and other web-enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware.
  3. Plug & scan: USB drives and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them.
  4. Protect your $$: when banking and shopping, check that the site is secure. Look for addresses with “https://” or “shttp://,” which means the site takes measures to secure your information. “Http://” is not secure.