2005-01-20 / Business & Finance

Even The Feds Say You Must Be “Extra” Careful With Computers

When you leave your house or apartment, it’s second nature to double check the door — just to make sure it’s locked. But when you log off your personal computer, do you remember to double- check your virtual” property?

If you’re like most of us, you probably didn’t think you needed to. How-ever, everything you store on your computer, such as addresses, pictures, bank statements, and shopping lists, are vulnerable to cyber intruders. And these intruders, also known as viruses and worms, can completely erase or destroy all of your files.

Just as you take precautions to make your home safe, there are steps you can take to protect your personal information. Learn how to safeguard your computer with Online Security & Safety Tips, a new, free publication from the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Federal Citizen Information Center.

The first step to securing your personal files is to install an Internet firewall. A firewall acts as a protective barrier between your computer and harmful cyber attacks. Even with the protection of a firewall, it’s a good idea to frequently back up your files onto a floppy disk or CD for safekeeping. You can also defend your computer against these intruders by using up-to-date anti-virus software.

No matter what type of software you use, it’s smart to install the latest security updates so your computer is adequately protected. Make it a habit to regularly check your software company’s website or to use the automated updating features that some companies offer.

Make your computer safer with Online Security & Safety Tips. There are three easy ways to get your free publication:

• Send your name and address to Department 642M, Pueblo, Colorado 81009.

• Call toll-free 1 (888) 8 PUEBLO. That’s 1 (888) 878-3256, weekdays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time and ask for Department 642M.

• Visitwww.pueblo.gsa.gov/rc/n12. htm to place your order online.

Get even more information and take advantage of federal online resources at www.FirstGov.gov — your official front door to federal and state government websites.

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