Your software may contain many extra features that can either help or hurt your security. Be aware of these features and use them to your advantage or turn them off.
Update Your Software
Take advantage of software updates. The makers of most of your most important software applications provide free updates known as fixes, patches and service packs. Your operating system (OS) should always be kept up to date with the latest security patches and both Apple and Microsoft, two leading OS makers, make it easy to update your software. Learn more.
Software Features You Don't Use
If you don't use (or are not currently using) certain software or software features - turn them off. Many software applications can leave your computer vulnerable to hackers and viruses through an open network. Some such applications and features are: file-sharing, instant messaging, e-mail and Internet browsers.
If you're not using your computer for an extended period, you can turn it off or unplug it from the phone or cable line. When it's off, the computer doesn't send or receive information from the Internet and isn't vulnerable to hackers.
Software Features You SHOULD Use
Some operating systems have built-in firewalls. Learn more about firewalls and how to use them.
Many e-mail applications and Web-based e-mail services provide filters to limit e-mail that flows into your inbox. The mail filters use known criteria such as phrasing, font style (ex: all caps), and symbols (ex: dollar signs, exclamation points) to classify messages as junk. Using these filters can help reduce the risk of receiving viruses via e-mail. To learn more about the specific filters available, use the "Help" function within your e-mail client. Search for terms like "filter" "rules" or "junk mail." View video tutorials for activating e-mail filters.
For more security features, check the "Tools" or "Options" menus for built-in security features. You probably have several choices for what types of files you want to accept from other computers. If you don't understand your choices, check them out using your "Help" function.