Protecting your computer

Update your Browser

Using the latest version of your internet browser software will always help to make your internet sessions more secure, so it is important you keep your browser software up-to-date.

Protect against Viruses and Spyware

Collectively referred to as 'Malware', malicious software such as viruses, trojans and spyware are software programs which are designed to cause damage to a computer system or to your privacy.

Malware usually gets onto your PC from infected files you download from websites or open as email attachments. You might be tricked into installing it yourself, but sometimes they can self-install just by visiting a malicious website. One common trick is to offer you a seemingly useful free game or utility, which unknown to you, also includes a virus or trojan. By installing these files, you install the malware.

The most practical advice we can offer you is:

  • Install an Anti-Virus product and regularly install the updates. Most products automatically update but you should check that they are doing so periodically
  • Don't open email attachments without ensuring they are first scanned for viruses Don’t open unsolicited emails or click any links in an email, however genuine it may look
  • If your anti-virus software reports a suspect file, take the recommended action before you close down your computer
  • Make sure you have backups of your important files
  • Only download files from legitimate websites
  • Scan all CDs, DVDs, floppy diskettes and USB Drives for viruses before use
  • Update your Operating System

Your Operating System (OS) is responsible for running all the important programs you use on your PC or Laptop. Keeping the OS up to date will help to keep your system secure and should improve performance and stability. Common operating systems include Windows and Mac OS.

Each vendor will have the best information or tools to help you to patch your specific operating system version.

Use a Personal Firewall

A firewall helps regulate what network traffic is allowed in and out, of your computer. Personal firewalls are typically designed to protect just the computer on which it is installed.

The most practical advice we can offer you is:

  • Many operating systems come with a personal firewall capability; we would recommend that you at least turn this feature on.
  • There are also many free and commercial personal firewall products available. Use your favourite search engine to find more information about your options.
  • If your firewall software reports a suspect network connection, take the recommended action.

Avoid using Shared Computers or Internet Cafés

Avoid using a shared computer, such as an Internet café, to apply for accounts online. Remember that banking online via a public, networked or shared computer may mean your information is recorded and/or stored on that computer even after you’ve left it or logged off. You may have no control over this.