Top tips for busting bugs

I’m a big believer in the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared. It’s wise to follow that old adage in this era of seemingly inevitable computing snarls. Every month in Bugs and Fixes, I keep you up-to-date on the latest bugs, security holes, and other software and hardware glitches. This month, though, I’m going to share some tips on how I protect myself from bugs and bad guys.

Strengthen your browser. Take advantage of your browser’s built-in security settings to exercise more control over the information that comes your way on the Internet.

TIP: If you use IE 5.5 or later, go to Tools–Internet Options and click Security. Then select the Internet icon, click Default Level, and set the slider bar to Medium.

To adjust Netscape’s individual security settings, Net-scape 4.x users need to select Edit – Preferences – Advanced. Netscape 6.x users can choose Edit – Preferences and then click the Security & Privacy tab.

Think before you click. Plenty of clues will tip you off when something isn’t kosher. For example, if an e-mail message from a coworker contains a subject line that seems unlike the person’s usual style, view it with suspicion – especially if it includes an unexpected attachment.

TIP: Never open a file attachment from someone you don’t know.

Ignore “Microsoft updates” via e-mail. Don’t click any e-mail with an attachment that purportedly contains an update to a Microsoft product.

TIP: Microsoft never sends out updates via e-mail, but in several cases viruses have been found masquerading as Microsoft updates.

Test beta software at your own risk. In my experience, beta software – the testable version made prior to the final product – is chock-full of bugs. Beta software can destabilize your PC by damaging files that other programs depend on or by overwriting important data in the Windows Registry. You could end up losing the entire contents of your hard drive.

TIP: So avoid beta software unless you can’t bear to wait for the shipping version of software – or you plan to use a separate test machine.

Practice safe computing before disaster strikes. My last piece of advice takes its cue from the Boy Scout strategy.

TIP: Back up all of your essential data – religiously. Stay on top of your anti-virus software updates. And if you maintain an always-on broadband connection, make sure you use an Internet firewall program.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing editor for PC World.

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Featured Articles

Empowering the hybrid workforce: how technology can build a better employee experience

Across the country, employees from organizations of all sizes expect flexibility...

What’s behind the best customer experience: How to make it real for your business

The best customer experience – the kind that builds businesses and...

Overcoming the obstacles to optimized operations

Network-driven optimization is a top priority for many Canadian business leaders...

Thriving amid Canada’s tech talent shortage

With today’s tight labour market, rising customer demands, fast-evolving cyber threats...

Staying protected and compliant in an evolving IT landscape

Canadian businesses have changed remarkably and quickly over the last few...

Related Tech News

Tech Jobs

Our experienced team of journalists and bloggers bring you engaging in-depth interviews, videos and content targeted to IT professionals and line-of-business executives.

Tech Companies Hiring Right Now