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Safe Computing On Windows And Macs

Posted in Mac

In this time of the always connected lifestyle it is more important than ever that we all learn how to best protect our computers and even more importantly our personal information on the Internet. The subject of viruses
and malware on Windows computers and Macs can be a hot button topic, but that will not stop us from discussing it here on the Delivering Access blog. In the coming weeks my friend and teammate Damashe and I will be writing about this very subject. Our goal being to provide you our readers with the information to better protect yourself online. So sit back and get ready to learn about how to make sure that you are protected from the bad guys on the Internet.

The Windows Side

Safe computer use is important for us all, whether you work at a law firm or just google recipes. Today, I will share some easy ways to ensure that you are securing your computer.

The first thing I suggest is to create yourself a standard account in Windows for everyday use. The advantage to doing this is if your computer is infected by a virus or malware, it will only affect your standard user account, since that account doesn’t have full access to the operating system by default.

Unlike during the XP days, Windows 7 has user account control. User account control or UAC, asks for you to authorize any task that will make changes to your system. An example would be, when installing a new program, Windows 7’s UAC will prompt you to allow this application to make changes to your computer. This feature is at times annoying, but at least there won’t be any programs or other executables running and modifying your computer without your permission. There are three levels of your UAC settings, high, medium and low. Then you can just turn it off altogether. Your UAC settings are found in the Control Panel under user accounts. This is also the place to create that standard user account. I would suggest that you create a new administrator account, and once that is done, change your user account to a standard account.
In the coming weeks, Scott and I will be covering more security tips or our two favorite platforms.

The Mac Side

When it comes to protecting yourself on a Mac from the bad guys you may hear some people say that those of us on a Mac do not have anything to worry about. This is far from the truth.

Although it is true that on the Mac platform we do not have as big of a problem with viruses and malware, that does not mean that we are immune to them.

In my experience it is best to approach this with a preventative attitude instead of the attitude in which you believe that just because you are using a Mac means that you cannot get infected.

For this reason it is always my recommendation
that all Mac users should be using some form of virus protection on their systems.

The days of not needing an anti virus program on the Mac are long gone. Because the Mac continues to gain some market share means that the Mac platform has become a much more interesting and lucrative target for the bad guys. This is exactly why you are beginning to hear about more Mac viruses and vulnerabilities being discovered.

How can you begin to protect yourself if you are using a Mac?

One of the most effective ways to lower the chances of your Mac getting into trouble on the Internet is to create a guest User Account and then use this account instead of the admin account.

The reason for doing such a thing is with a guest account you can highly restrict the user privileges
and therefor you will limit the damage that an infection could do to your system.

On the Mac to create a new user account for this purpose do the following:
1. Go to System Preferences on your Mac.

2. Then go to Users and Groups.

3. Go to the bottom of the screen and then select Click Lock To Make Changes. You will have to enter in your admin password.

4. Once you have done this then select the Add User or Group button.

5. The first option is to select what type of an account you want. This is where you make the crucial decision. Choose Standard Account.

6. Now you will type in the name of the account along with the username. Then you will enter in a password.
Note: If you would like to use this account without having to enter in a password just leave the password field blank. It is important to note that by leaving this field blank you are making this account more insecure than if you do add a password, so it is my advice that you enter in a password for this account.

7. After filling in all of the information for this account locate and click on the Add User Account.

Now you will have a more secure and admittedly less functional user account that you can use for everyday computing sessions. It still will come down to you the user of this computer to use this account instead of your admin account.

In next weeks post Damashe and I will discuss some ways to further protect yourself on-line.

Do you have questions about how to use your Mac or i device? then try out our $6 question where for $6 you can get up to 20 minutes of phone time with one of our highly trained and skilled instructors. To give it a try just go to our $6 question page and fill out the short form and submit your payment and one of our instructors will give you a call.

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