Securing Your Personal Computer

1 - You must ensure antivirus software is installed and configured to auto-update virus definitions

Antivirus software by major commercial vendors is recommended. Good examples are Symantec at and Mcafee at In addition, there are several providers of freeware anti-virus software, with the option to convert to paid version with more functionality:

2 - You must ensure all critical security updates are routinely applied by enabling automatic updates

3 – If you have installed peer-to-peer file-sharing applications they must be disabled or uninstalled

Default configurations of peer-to-peer file-sharing applications typically enable access to files on the users' PC. This must be disabled.

Instructions for disabling this feature can be found at

4 – You should protect the computer from spy-ware

Spy-ware programs are programs that secretly monitor a users actions. They may be used for marketing purposes such as pop-ups or may have malicious intent such as secretly controlling a person's computer or gathering passwords and other information.

Spy-ware programs are often bundled with freeware programs or installed via the web browser using scripting. They may require user consent of “targeted advertising” in order to use a program, but are often installed secretly.

Load software to remove known spy-ware programs from the computer. There are several good programs. It is recommended that ONE of the following is used:

Spy-bot Search and Destroy - Go to and download the free version of Spy-bot Search and Destroy. Install with default settings. Periodically do the following:

  • Update - Search for updates then download updates
  • Immunize - Immunize the system
  • Search and Destroy - Check for problems

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware - Go to and download the free version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free. Install with default settings. Periodically do the following:

  • Update Tab - Check for Updates
  • Scanner Tab - Perform quick scan

Most spy-ware targets Microsoft Windows, but for Mac users concerned about spy-ware there is MacScan at

5 – You should enable a software firewall

You can enabled the one bundled with the operating system or download a 3rd-party software firewall

To enable the firewall bundled with the Windows Operating System

Windows XP;en-us;283673

Windows 7

Mac OS X 10.5+