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Top Security Tips for Desktop Users

A national alliance of solution providers warns of threats to small and midsize businesses, issues tips for protecting computers and systems. The organization has issued ten tips for small to midsize businesses in protecting their computers and systems:

1. Install anti-virus software and update it regularly. This software scans incoming emails for virus signatures and, if a virus is found, deletes or quarantines it. It's critical to update this software regularly with new definitions because there are hundreds of new viruses each month.

2. Keep your office computers safe. Not all computer problems start with viruses and hackers, but instead originate with unauthorized computer users. Make sure office computers are protected by locating them in secure areas. Log serial numbers to ensure computers can be identified if stolen, and etch these numbers--as well as company information--on hidden areas of the computers.

3. Set up an Internet firewall. This is your company's first line of defense and protects your local network from outside attacks by screening and blocking all traffic between your network and the Internet that isn't allowed. The firewall also hides computer addresses and makes them invisible to outsiders. Installing a hardware firewall is simple as it connects between the cable/DSL modem and computers on your network.

4. Strong passwords are best. It's hard to remember passwords, but why make it easy for hackers by using weak or simple words? Never devise passwords based on your real name, username or company name, or use easily-guessed numbers such as 1234. Change your password at least once a month, and use passwords that are eight letters or more in length with lower- and upper-case letters, numbers and symbols.

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