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The Expert, No Nonsense Tips On Keeping Your PC Secure Part – II

Hello,

PC security has really become critical nowadays as we all continue using PC’s for automating most of the things in our life – searching for information, paying bills, banking, emailing, selling and buying stuff online and much more. This is the second part of the series on how to keep your PC secure.

In my previous post, "The Expert No Nonsense Tips On Keeping Your PC Secure Part – I", I covered the following topics (brief summary) -

1. Installing some physical locking mechanism to prevent data stored on PC from being stolen. 2. Setting system password in CMOS for giving a password prior to the booting (loading of Operating System). 3. Using economical biometric security such as fingerprint scanning to make authentication method more secure. 4. Using windows password to login

For more details of the above topics, kindly check the URL: http://www.pctipstricks.com/?p=29

Reverting to the present post, it explains some of the more ways to make your online PC more secure from hackers, crackers and data stealers etc.

These tips are:

1. Put CMOS Supervisor Password

CMOS or BIOS chip stores your computer’s vital hardware configuration and boot preferences etc. To go to your CMOS, you will see some key like F2 or Del (Delete) etc. to be pressed as soon as your power it on. Press that key, enter your CMOS and give a CMOS supervisor password so that someone who knows the CMOS setup password can only change these settings.

What configuring a CMOS setup password will do? It will prevent stealing of data by those people who can change your PC’s boot preferences to boot from their devices such as USB flash drive and CD or DVD etc.

2. Disable Boot Devices other than Hard Disk in your CMOS

To keep your computer secure, you must disable other boot devices and options such as floppy (in case it’s still there), CD/DVD (Compact Disc/ Digital Video Disc), USB flash drive and Boot from Network etc.

Why am I giving this tip? Imagine the situation where someone with an intention of stealing data from your PC comes with a bootable USB flash drive in his/her pocket, plugs it to the USB port and boots your PC after changing the boot preferences and copies the data on the same drive. This will be easy if you have ignored my above tip and have not put any CMOS supervisor password.

And if you have put a CMOS supervisor password plus have disabled booting from other devices, then the person won’t be able to do the booting from the devices other than those configured by you, i.e., hard disk.

3. Configure a Screen Saver that requires password

Don’t leave your PC desktop open for anyone when you go for a short break in a office or in a place where someone can access it and do copy, delete or emailing of your files etc.

To configure a Screen saver in Windows Vista Business, do this -

- Right click on your desktop – Click on Personalize – Click on Screen Saver – Choose the settings such as Screen saver picture, speed of slide show and time to wait after which the screen saver appears. To enable

Windows Vista to prompt you for password to unlock the Screen Saver, check – "On resume, display logon screen"

Your work that you were continuing to do prior to appearance of Windows Screen Saver will be there in the same state. (E.g. – mail window, explorer window and browser screens, all open in the same condition as you left them).

For other Microsoft’s Windows version – XP, 2000, 98 etc., right click on your desktop and you will find the way to setup Windows Screen Saver, probably in Display Properties or from Control Panel –> Display (Double click) and then Screen Saver. Screen saver can also be used for power conservation by displaying the minimal graphics (if corresponding light screensaver with minimal graphics is configured) after the system has been idle for the chosen duration of time.

4. Disable Sharing of hard disk/s and other storage devices or give a password

If your PC is on a network (LAN, WAN or Internet etc.) connected to other computers by any means, then you must disable the sharing of hard disk/s and other secondary storage devices – CD, DVD, USB flash drive etc. if it is not needed.

Otherwise, if you want others (in your office team or friends or relatives etc.) to transfer files from your PC to theirs using some kind of network, then give a password for your shares and keep it very strong (use alphanumeric characters of length eight or more). In the process of sharing, configure to whom you want to give access and of what type. It’s better to give read only rights under normal circumstances but you might have to give full rights if it demands – A System Administrator who is remotely troubleshooting a technical problem of a software not working on your PC may require full rights to a particular folder or drive.

To enable or disable sharing (by default sharing is disabled), go to My Computer or Computer (depending on your Windows OS), Right click on the drive or folder you want to share or remove share and then give or remove the rights to the users. A user who needs to access files and folders on your computer that has password protection turned on, will need to have user account on your PC and will have to use the password also.

When a drive or folder is shared successfully, you should see a hand under it and when the share is removed, there should not be any hand under it.

If there are issues with any of the above four tips (given in short) on keeping your PC secure, let me know what assistance you require and I will try to help you.

I will give more tips on keeping your computer secure in my next post of this series.

Take care,

Rajesh Mago

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Tags: free ways to protect your PC from hackers and stealers, improving security of your PC, tightening computer security, tips to keep your computer secure

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 15th, 2008 at 8:32 am and is filed under Security. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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