Technology:Guide to Safer Computing

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This page is a chapter in the book AusPhotography Guide to Safer Computing.
What is 'safe computing'? Safe computing (pedantically Safer as nothing is 100% safe) is a holistic approach to how you use technology to protect yourself and your information from harm; whether that harm is caused by equipment failure, software failure, power outages or malicious activity by parties unknown.

This guideline has been collated to help members of Australian Photography (AP) appreciate the issues they need to manage to enjoy their online and photographic experiences. You will need to investigate each topic further to suit your needs.

Members who wish to contribute to this set of posts should PM me and I will update the relevant section as needed. If you have question please raise them in a new thread for discussion and not post on this reference thread. I'm happy for anyone to suggest spelling or grammatical corrections.

AP provide this information without any warranty or guarantee or correctness or usefulness; it must not be taken as professional advice in any way shape or form. If you are unsure of what is needed we recommend you seek appropriate professional help.

The first rule of safe computing is to use your brain - think! Ask questions, get help when needed. The internet is full of very good information and services such as AP; it also has criminals who are after your information and money. So do what you need to to protect yourself.

Why the focus on Windows? Most of our members user Windows and the vast majority of practical security problems occur with Windows. I like Macs and love Linux - but they are not the common platform used by members.

I strongly recommend that you have upgraded to at least Windows XP SP3 or Windows 7

Summary of Best Practices
  • Backup - keep an offsite copy as well
  • Keep your Anti-Virus protection up to date. Install Anti-Virus Protection Software.
  • Keep your Operating System software up to date.
  • Use Secure Applications; UPDATE YOUR BROWSER --REGULARLY
  • Never provide information about yourself or others to unknown people or websites
  • Don't click or download things that you didn't solicit. In other words, never react to candy from strangers. Even saying no thank you (by clicking) gives them information about you.
  • Don't download dubious "free" software. Often these free applications come with spyware and other malware including viruses
  • Add a Screen Saver to your computer and password protect the screensaver
  • LOG OUT of of accounts when you are finished. Don't just close the window.
  • Delete unwanted/unneeded files from your computer
  • Be aware of the sensitive nature of information that you have access to.
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