Join Jess Stratton for an in-depth discussion in this video Periodically maintaining your settings, part of Learning Computer Security and Internet Safety.
- The same way a car needs oil changes at recommended intervals, there is some things you can do to your computer to give it the regular maintenance it needs to make sure you stay safe. The first thing is to delete your browser cache. That is, temporary files, your browsing history and cookies. Not only will doing this periodically speed things up considerably, it will also delete potential web tracking cookies, clear your web history for the next person that comes along, and it will also help an anti-virus scan go much quicker. To do this, I'm in Internet Explorer right now.
Click the gear icon and choose 'Internet Options'. In the browsing history section, click 'Delete' and you can keep everything that's checked, and it's up to you to decide if you also want to delete your form data and your saved passwords. You'll need to make sure that you know what all your passwords are before you're actually going to delete them. Then, simply click the 'Delete' button. Every browser has a way to delete the browsing history. Ideally, if you can do this every month, it's great, but make sure you do it at least quarterly.
I recommend going through once a quarter, and doing all these things in order. So, you can start by deleting your browser cache. After that, take a few moments and make sure that your operating system and web browser are updated with all the latest security patches. Now, I showed you how to do that in a previous video. So, I'm not going to go over it now. I covered every browser and how to do it on a Mac and PC, but it's definitely important that you add this to your queue. Here's where we can check and make sure Windows Update is going according to plan.
After that, once you've made sure that your browser history is clear, and your operating system is up to date, check and make sure your subscription hasn't expired, and then check the scan history to make sure it's doing what its supposed to do. Finally, go through all your installed programs. I'm on my Windows computer right now. I'll click 'Search and I'm going to type 'Uninstall'. From here, I'm going to click 'Uninstall a program'. This is going to bring up a list of all the programs that's installed on your computer. If you don't know what a program is, you won't want to 'Uninstall' it, but this is a good opportunity to see if there's any search tools or web browser tool bars that you didn't know were on your computer.
For example, here I can see the Yahoo toolbar. Maybe I use to use this. Maybe it got on my computer in some way that I didn't know how it got there. Whatever the reason, I'm going through this list now, once a quarter, and I'm going to clean it out. So, I'll place a checkbox next to Yahoo toolbar and I'll click 'Uninstall', and this will take me through the uninstall process. I'm going to click 'Yes'. I'm really sure I want to uninstall the Yahoo toolbar. Once the toolbar is uninstalled, it will still bring me back to this uninstall screen, except you'll notice that the Yahoo toolbar is gone.
So, now I can continue to go through and uninstall any other search program, toolbar, or app that I know what it is, but I know that I don't want it anymore. Once you're done, you can close out of this. Finally, you should have some sort of backup plan for your computer. You can use an external hard drive or you can copy your important documents to a Cloud service like Microsoft OneDrive, but you need to think about what would happen to your important files if something happened to your computer. This is why it's always good to have some sort of backup plan for your files in place, and now on the topic of Cloud services.
Up next, I'm going to show you how to enable a very important security feature called two-factor authentication to protect all of your logins online.
- Installing updates
- Using antivirus software and protecting against viruses
- Enabling Windows Firewall
- Using password-management software
- Encrypting files that contain sensitive data
- Securing your router and protecting the SSID
- Understanding the signs of a secure website
- Checking settings for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari
- Unsubscribing from email subscriptions
- Reviewing site privacy settings
- Browsing on a public computer
- Understanding cookies
- Protecting other people's names and locations
- Fact-checking email warnings