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General Computer Tips

Security Concerns
firewalls - The most important benefit of having a firewall is that it protects your computer(s) from being accessed directly by other computers on the internet.   A software firewall may be sufficient for dialup users, however a hardware firewall is recommended if you have high-speed Internet access (DSL, Cable Modem, etc).

UPS - Uninterruptable Power Supplies protect your computer(s) from brief surges, sags, or loss of electricity.   In the event of a power failure, with a UPS, you will have time to properly power-down - which can prevent future problems.

backups - Data loss is inevitable - when it does, you will want to have sufficient backups of your important data.   BGCS strongly believes that "ease of data restoration" should be a top priority.   Depending on the importance of your data, it is also recommended that you take backups to an offsite location on a regular basis, in the event of a catastrophe.

email - Be careful what you click on.   It's important that you keep your email program up to date - many virii are spread through email.   Unless you are sure you know what the attachment is in an email message, do not click on it.   Many virii send out what appear to be legitimate email messages, but in fact are using the emails to spread themselves.   Set your email program not to view emails as HTML (use plain-text).

antivirus - It is important to run a reliable anti-virus program and to update virus definitions on a regular basis.   Your AV program should be set to scan incoming emails.

passwords - Use good passwords and change them.   Don't use the same username & password for everything.   Use different passwords for different "classes" of information.   You should not use the same password you use for a chat room, that you use to protect financial information.

laptops - If you travel with a laptop, it is important that you use a secure operating system that requires you to log in each time it is started (NT, 2000, or XP Professional).   You should also remember to backup important data before travelling.

wireless networks - Do not broadcast SSID, limit DHCP access, use WEP (128-bit) or WPA encryption.


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