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3 Steps to Computer Safety

Step 1: Protect Your Computer

The software you need to install to protect your computer consists of firewall, antivirus, and antispyware, as well as, downloading security updates to your operating system when available.

A firewall is a software application or hardware device used to protect a computer and home network from unauthorized access. Firewall protection is vital for Charter Internet™ subscriber because of the "always on" connection. Below are a few benefits that firewall software can provide:

  • Blocking intrusion attempts and unwanted inbound traffic (i.e. port scans)
  • Program Control – what programs are allowed to access the Internet
  • Logging inbound/outbound traffic
 

Software Firewalls

A software firewall is a program installed on your computer that controls which applications are allowed to use the Internet connection. If you are uncertain whether a software firewall has been installed on your computer, you can check in the All Programs folder. Some common brand names for software firewalls for home users include Charter Security Suite™, F-Secure®, McAfee®, Norton Internet Security®, and ZoneAlarm®.

The built-in firewall on Microsoft Windows 8, 7, and Vista® is turned on by default. If you have Windows XP® Service Pack 3 (SP3) or later, the built-in firewall can be enabled from the Windows Security Center:

If you have Windows XP, but you do not have Service Pack 3 on your computer, you can download it by visiting Microsoft’s Windows Update Site. A built-in firewall is not available in other versions of Windows. It is recommended that you use a firewall from a third party.

Hardware Firewalls

Many wireless access points and broadband routers for home networking have built-in hardware firewalls, which provide good protection against intrusion attempts and unwanted inbound traffic. However, if a computer becomes infected, it may use the Internet connection in the background to send out malicious traffic or open a back door for future exploitation.

Antivirus software can identify, contain, and if possible, repair infected files on your computer.

Antivirus software is only effective as long as it is up-to-date. Update your virus definitions at least once a week, or set the updates to be downloaded automatically. Keep the viruses away from your computer by scanning your system once a week. You can manually scan your computer or set your antivirus program to scan automatically.

If there is antivirus software loaded on your computer, you should be able to locate it in the Control Panel under the Add/Remove Programs list. Also, most antivirus programs have an icon in the system tray. Hover your mouse over the icons so that the name of the program will be displayed. Do this until you locate your antivirus program. You may need to show hidden icons. Once you located the antivirus software, click on Start >> Programs (or All Programs) >> Click on the name of the antivirus software to bring up a control center for the product. The control center window should display the date of the most recent updates. Some antivirus programs have a “live update” or “auto-update” feature accessible from a submenu of the program group on the Programs list.

Many computers come with antivirus software preloaded and usually include a six to twelve month subscription. If you purchased the computer over a year ago, you may need to re-subscribe or install new antivirus software.

Antispyware software can prevent and remove spyware/adware from infecting your computer.

In order to prevent and remove spyware/adware from infecting your computer, it is recommended that you scan your pc once a week and keep the antispyware software up-to-date. Most antivirus suites include antispyware; check your antivirus suite program or contact your antivirus vendor for more information. If you do not have antispyware installed on your computer, you can download the following third-party programs:

 

Charter Security Suite™

If you are lacking complete protection for your computer, consider downloading the Charter Security Suite™. It’s easy to use and is included with your Charter Internet™ Plus or Ultra service.

Key features include:

  • Antivirus
  • Antispyware
  • Spam Control
  • Firewall
  • Rootkit Detection
  • Parental Controls

For more information and to download the Charter Security Suite™, click here.

Step 2: Keep Your Computer Up-To-Date

Installing the recommended software discussed in step one will protect your computer, but in order to keep it protected, it requires continuous updating.

It is highly recommended that your firewall, antivirus, and antispyware is configured to update automatically. In addition, it is recommended to allow your operating system to install updates automatically.

If you are unsure if your operating system is up-to-date, you can manually check by visiting Microsoft’s Windows Update Site http://update.microsoft.com or Mac users may visit http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/.

Step 3: Defend Against Unauthorized Use

Once your computer has all the essential software installed and updated, guard your computer against unauthorized use.

Discourage unauthorized use of your computer by following these steps:

  • Set a strong password on your computer and online accounts.
    Click here for tips on creating strong passwords.
  • Secure your wireless home network and be very cautious when surfing the Internet using a hotspot.
    Click here for more information on wireless security.
  • Clear your web browser history after accessing your online accounts.
  • Avoid using "Remember my password" for your pc and online accounts.

Furthermore, educate yourself on the latest security news on how to safeguard your computer when accessing the Internet by visiting charter.com/security.


†Charter Security Suite is available at no additional cost for Charter Internet Plus and Ultra customers. Charter does not guarantee data will be secure.

All marks belong to their respective owners. The links in this article are to Internet sites maintained by third parties, no inference or assumption should be made and no representation may be implied that either Charter or its affiliated entities operates or controls in any way any information, products or services on these third party sites.

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