MCC Daily Tribune Archive

Improving the Security of Your Home Computer

The following two ideas can help you keep your personally identifiable information (PII) more secure and away from cyber-criminals. While no individual step will eliminate your risk, together these defense-in-depth practices will make your home computer’s defense stronger with reduced chance of theft.

Operate Under the Principle of Least Privilege:
In most instances of a malware infection, the malware can operate only with the permissions of the logged-in user.  Consider creating or using a standard or restricted user account for day-to-day activities to minimize the impact that malware can have if it successfully infects your computer. When you need to install or remove software or change system settings from the computer, log-in with an administrator account, so you have full privileges on your system.

Remove Unnecessary Software:
Intruders can attack your computer by exploiting software vulnerabilities – accidental weaknesses left within various software that can be exploited by hackers.  The fewer software packages that you have installed, the fewer opportunities remain for potential attack. If you don’t know what a software program does and don’t use it, research it to determine whether it’s necessary. Remove any software you feel isn’t necessary after confirming it’s safe to remove the software.

Back up important files and data and make a “system restore point” before removing unnecessary software in case you accidentally remove software essential to the operating system. If possible, locate the installation media for the software in case you need to reinstall it.

Jeff Dunker
Communications and Network Services