Security can be a very scary thing on computers. Hackers are wising up to even more complex ways of making your life miserable, and if you don't protect yourself, you will be in a world of hurt. While you can *never* be perfectly secure -- particularly if you ever use the Internet, which is pretty much everyone nowadays -- there are a few things to keep in mind when using your computer.
By keeping these principles in mind, you will be able to surf the web and use your computer with an increased peace of mind and security, knowing that it will be more difficult to hack into your computer than someone else's.
A lot of security is simply making the most common methods for hacking even more difficult on your computer than someone else's. Just as no bike lock can be perfect, but a strong bike lock is better than a weak one, a well-secured system is a great first step towards making your computer more difficult to exploit.
Secure Your Browser
The easiest thing *anyone* can do is to use a secure browser. Some browsers are easier to exploit than others, and therefore it is better to use the more difficult browsers to exploit. To this end, the browser we recommend is Google Chrome.
Google Chrome takes care of this for you by automatically updating in the background -- you're always using the most secure version of Chrome if that is your primary browser.
Use Complex Passwords
Hackers often use "brute force" to hack into computers. They set up an automated computer program to guess as many passwords as possible, and find your password that way. By increasing the entropy of your passwords, you can make sure that your computer is as secure as it can be. There are free tools for creating complex passwords -- search for these tools, and use them.
Other Password Tips
* Use a different password for every service. This way, if a hacker guesses your password for one service, he will not have access to all of your other services.
* Change your passwords regularly. If you change your passwords regularly, then you will limit the odds that any one person has your password at any time.
* Store your passwords in an encrypted file. At the very least, zip your plain text file with all of your passwords in it, and then password protect it, before you save it -- especially if you're saving it to an online service such as DropBox, Boxy, or MobileMe.
By taking these simple precautions towards security, you will be able to increase the entropy and effectiveness of your security system. Just remember -- no security system is perfectly safe. Don't get a false sense of security.