Basic Security Guidelines

Update your Operating System
The simple truth is that all the different versions of even the best of the operating systems have succumbed to hacking. Having said that, the simplest way to protect your system would be to keep updating your operating system on a weekly or monthly basis or as and when a new and improved version comes along. This drastically brings down the risk of your system playing host to viruses.
    Update your software
Please understand that there is a reason why software developers bring out newer versions of their product every once in a while. Besides providing better efficiency and convenience, they also have better in-built security features. Therefore it is highly imperative for you to make sure that your applications, browsers and programs all stay updated.
    Anti-Virus
The importance of having good and effective anti-virus software in your system can never be stressed enough. This is more so when your system is always connected to the internet. There are many antivirus software available in the market with varying degrees of efficiency. They may be both free as well as paid and we would always recommend you to go for the latter. And if you think that just installing one in your system is good enough, then you are mistaken. The anti-virus software, like any other software requires frequent updating for its definitions to remain effective.
    Anti-Spyware
Anti -spyware software are as important as anti-virus for the very same reasons. And here too, you have a lot of options to choose from. So make sure that you pick one that is rated high enough.
    Go for Macintosh or LINUX
Now this is a tricky one. You may have read it in countless comparisons and on numerous blogs that Macintosh operating systems are the least secure ones out there, especially when pitted against the vastly more popular Windows operating systems. But here, the very popularity of Windows works against it. Don’t get it? Well here is the thing, Very few hackers target Macintosh systems because of the fact that a large majority of people do not use it. Take advantage of this and switch to Macintosh or Linux operating systems. And do not forget the fact that there is no operating system in the world which is completely hack-proof.
    Avoid shady sites
Would you walk into a dark alley on the secluded part of the street at night, wearing expensive jewelry? You wouldn’t. Similarly, be wary of dubious websites that parade as reputed ones. Also avoid visiting porn sites, gaming websites and sites promising free music and movie downloads. These websites are frequently tracked by hackers and anything you view or download from these sites may contain malware that may harm your computer and compromise its security.
    Firewall
If there are more than one computer systems operating under one network, it is highly advisable to install software that provides a security firewall. Otherwise make sure that the in-built firewall in your Windows is activated. This feature is comes in all versions of Windows starting from the XP to the latest version.
Spam
Never ever open mails that look suspicious. Especially the ones that have attachments. All the mainstream e-mail websites provide a certain amount of protection against such spurious mails by straightaway moving them to the spam box when you receive them. However there may be mails that get past the filters of your e-mail server and that is when you have to exercise caution. Do not attempt to read such mails or download the contents.
    Back-up options
Whether it is your home computer or the system at work, always create a back-up of the data that you store in it. You may be having all sorts of important and confidential information such as financial information, personal files and work related documents saved in your system. In that case, make sure that you transfer a copy of everything into an external source such as a standalone hard disk or some other similar device or server. Remember single potent malicious software may completely scramble your data and make it irretrievable. And merely having a back-up option is not good enough if you do not utilize it. Perform a back-up transfer as often as possible, at least once in 4 to 5 days.
    Passwords
We have kept the most important aspect to the last. The significance of having a secure password can never be undermined enough. Be it for your documents, for e-mail or even your secure server, a good enough password is the first and quite often the last line of defense against any external threats. There are some golden rules when picking a password. Do not make your bank account number, telephone number or car registration number as your password. Similarly it is a big no when it comes to the names of your family members.
Do not adopt any dates such as birthdays and anniversaries as passwords. In short, when it comes to adopting a password do not take predictable words or numerals. As far as possible, make it a combination of jumbled alphabets and numbers that do not bear any importance to you on a personal or professional front. And a golden rule when it comes to password security is that, never write down your password anywhere, be it your personal diary or at the back of the telephone index. The same goes for saving it in your cell phone.