1) Turn off file sharing. File sharing is one of the first things a hacker looks for to access your computer.
2) Enable the built-in Windows firewall or install a third-party firewall
3) Scan for spyware. You may scan for and remove spyware and adware with the following two programs:
4) Use updated anti-virus software. Viruses are everywhere. Protect your data! Make sure that you update your virus definitions daily at a minimum!
5) Install Microsoft updates. You should update your operating system frequently. This will protect you from many of the new viruses, as well as from hackers.
6) Use a security scanner. You should run an "outside" security scanner on your computer.
7) Make regular backups of critical data. Keep a copy of important files on removable media such as USB thumb drives, CD-R discs, or CD-RW discs. Use software backup tools if available, and store the backup disks somewhere away from the computer.
8) Turn off your computer or disconnect from the network when not in use. An intruder cannot attack your computer if it is powered off or otherwise completely disconnected from the network.
9) Don't open unknown email attachments. Before opening any email attachments, be sure you know the source of the attachment. It is not enough that the mail originated from an address you recognize.
EXAMPLE: The Melissa virus spread precisely because it originated from a familiar address. Malicious code might be distributed in amusing or enticing programs. Most email servers will filter viruses in email attachments, but some still get through. A new virus called Beagle.H bypasses many virus scanners by sending the virus in a password protected zip file. You should never open an attachment unless you know exactly what it is.
If you must open an attachment before you can verify the source, we suggest the following procedure:
a) Be sure your anti-virus definitions are up-to-date.
b) Save the file to your hard disk.
c) Scan the file using your anti-virus software.
d) Open the file.
TIP: For additional protection, you can disconnect your computer's network connection before opening the file. Following these steps will reduce, but not wholly eliminate, the chance that any malicious code contained in the attachment might spread from your computer to others.
10) Don't run programs of unknown origin. Never run a program unless you know it to be authored by a person or company that you trust. Also, don't send programs of unknown origin to your friends or co-workers simply because they are amusing. They might contain a Trojan horse program.