Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #462 6/12/2019

Question: How do I protect my computer?


In the past few weeks, we have heard of a threat on older versions of windows called BlueKeep and Microsoft saying there is a vulnerability they have not fixed in Windows 10. The NSA has now warned about BlueKeep also saying it is a major problem like WannaCry that was ransom ware that hit so hard on places in Europe mainly a year ago.

Basically, there are four things for the normal computer user to do to protect their computer from these attacks. There is no definite way to fully protect the computer. Changing to an Apple Mac or Linux is not a protection either, they are also attacked, just not as many attacks since not many machines and less inviting to attackers for that reason.

First make sure you have an anti-virus on your machine and that the program is current and that the signatures are current. You can but anti-virus programs or get some free for personal use. I personally like Avast (avast.com) best in the free versions (and use it). There are a variety of good paid versions including Norton Symantec, Avast, TrendMicro, and others. I also suggest Superantispyware (superantispyware.com) for spyware which is free and cleans spyware which is different but like viruses. Superantivirus.com is a bad product that will infect your machine and not related. I have not had good luck with Windows Defender or McAfee for anti-virus.

Second do not fall for social engineering. Do not give your password to others, even if they say they are tech support. Tech support has administrative passwords and does not need yours. Do not enter personal information in non-secure sites or sites you do not know (a lock will appear in browser if secure or URL starts with https not http. Do not click on links without seeing where they go by hovering over them and if strange say no.

Third, make sure you have a firewall on your machine and that it is turned on. Windows includes a free good basic firewall, or you can buy one. To see if Windows firewall is turned on, type firewall in the search box by the Start button or by clicking search after the search button and click check firewall status. You should have green buttons. If red buttons, click on link there to turn on. The firewall should be fully enabled which will give two green buttons. The firewall stops a lot of bad traffic from entering your machine.

Fourth, make sure Windows is fully up to date. Windows 10 and 7 and 8 should be staying up to date, but I would recommend checking also and if optional updates listed, install them along with recommended or high importance which probably will do automatically. In previous versions (especially XP as many machines still use, run updates also. Although Microsoft is no longer doing updates for XP, they put out a security update for BlueKeep for XP. Go to updates by search box at Start button and follow steps on screen. They may require a re-start and if you do update Windows, do updates again as some depend on others being installed.