How to Secure Windows Usage?
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Security is a tricky concept. Similar to the difficulty of leading a secure daily life, it is just as difficult to process our work securely in the virtual world that we call the world of information. We may need to have some habits to overcome the difficulties. Besides concepts like virus protection, firewall, automatic update it is crucial to have some routine habits in order to lead a secure life in the virtual world.

The most important of them all is to have the habit of not running software we have no idea of. Not every application downloaded from the Internet may be a secure/dependable one. Therefore these applications must arrive from a secure source (a really secure source). These applications should not be run without updated virus scans and in fact should not be copied at all.

Virus protection comes up as the most important concept. There are many types of virus protection. At the campus we have licensed virus protection applications from McAfee and Symantec companies. Using just one of these is enough. As a working procedure, for efficient security it happens to be sufficient to scan the applications and tools (USB driver, downloading files from the net, and opening e-mail attachments) that arrive from outside a computer. Thus the performance of the computer does not deteriorate either. It must be possible to perform a scan by means of "On demand scan" whenever the need arises. An important aspect one should bear in mind is that, not every virus can be detected simultaneously by these applications. Therefore, as we have mentioned earlier do not download every application and run it.

Another important concept is small software that is named as malware, adware and which is used to make money. These are like parasites. They generally do no harm to the system they reside in but they act to pirate personal information when needed. At the same time they can be involved in activities that would bug other systems. They may be mixed up in banking fraud. Yes, they might pose to harm maybe not the system but to many other applications and processes and therefore care must be taken for these. Virus protection applications can protect us from them or protection can provided by making use of applications from ad-aware, Microsoft etc. Latest versions of Microsoft products come with automatic protection applications. As stated always, do not run unknown applications.

Most malicious software contaminates through web browsers and it is, therefore, important to keep your web browser(s) updated. Automatic update setting of the browser should always be turned on. Also, applications like Firefox, Noscript etc. that prevent extensions such as, JavaScript, IFRAME, ActiveX become of utmost importance. It is a must to make use of such an application. There is no harm in reminding again; accessing unknown sites brings about problems. The Google search engine even obscures access to such sites via itself.

In most cases the firewall on Windows is generally efficient especially if you are not conducting P2P. If needed applications like snort, Zonealarm may be used. Besides, McAfee and Symantec companies have firewall solutions.

What METU users unfortunately fail to take into account is P2P applications. Such applications (Kazaa, DC++, Flashget, MSN, Skype etc.) are a complete security breach. Installation of these applications clears out the effectiveness of the security measures depicted above. If you are using any of these applications, do not waste time and CPU capacity for measures like virus protection applications. Such P2P applications will transfer all types of harmful scripts and you will be facing many different versions of troubles, because such software deteriorates the complete security system.

Even though there are numerous other measures that can be taken, let us finalize with a reminder; it must not be forgotten that a security breach anywhere in the system, as in the case of weakest link in the chain, will pose a security gap for all the systems on that network. Another important aspect of any breach is that it renders the performance of all the network.

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