Security Tips & Talk

Tips about computer security, online safety, and privacy

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  • Blog Post: Is Windows Security Center real or rogue?

    A reader writes: What kind of warnings from Windows Security Center are real, and what should I do about them? Windows Security Center is a feature that was introduced in Windows XP Service Pack 2 and was also included in Windows Vista. ( Action Center replaced Windows Security Center in Windows...
  • Blog Post: Get the latest security updates and find out what to do if your computer is running Windows XP

    Microsoft releases security updates on the second Tuesday of every month. Learn how to get security updates automatically For IT Pros: Microsoft Security Bulletin Summary for April 2014 Support for Windows XP has ended Microsoft has provided support for Windows XP for the past 12 years...
  • Blog Post: How to get rid of malware that keeps coming back

    Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials can get rid of most malware, but here’s what you can do if it comes back. Make sure you have automatic updating turned on . This feature ensures that you have the latest security improvements from Microsoft installed on your computer. If...
  • Blog Post: Get security updates for March 2014

    Microsoft releases security updates on the second Tuesday of every month. Skip the details and check for the latest updates. This bulletin announces the release of security updates for Windows, Microsoft Word, and other programs. Learn how to get security updates automatically For IT Pros...
  • Blog Post: How do I know if I already have antivirus software?

    If your computer is running Windows 8 If your computer is running Windows 8, you already have antivirus software. Windows 8 includes Windows Defender , which helps protect you from viruses, spyware, and other malicious software . If Windows Defender is turned off and you don’t have another...
  • Blog Post: Do I need anything besides Windows Defender?

    A reader asks: If I have Windows Defender, do I need to buy anything else to protect my computer? If your computer is running the Windows 8 operating system, Windows Defender will help protect you from viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. You don’t need to buy anything else. ...
  • Blog Post: 10 New Year’s resolutions for your digital devices and your online life

    It’s a new year, which means it’s time to resolve to create healthier habits in our daily lives. But we don’t have to stop at just improving our body, mind, and spirit. It’s also a good idea to resolve to keep our PCs, laptops, smartphones, and social networking sites healthy...
  • Blog Post: EMET: A valuable tool for PC protection

    If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you’ve probably already taken steps to help protect your PC. You have antivirus software that you trust and you keep it updated automatically. You’ve activated your firewall. You regularly install security updates. You know not to respond...
  • Blog Post: 3 ways to speed up your PC

    Here are three ways to speed up a sluggish computer. 1. Scan your computer for viruses If your computer is slow or restarts often, it could be infected with a virus or other malicious software . If you have Windows 8, you can use the built-in Windows Defender to help you get rid of a virus or...
  • Blog Post: Get advance notice about October 2013 security updates

    Today, the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) posted details about the October security updates . If you have automatic updating turned on, most of these updates will download and install on their own. Sometimes you may need to provide input for Windows Update during an installation. In this...
  • Blog Post: Get free or paid support for your malware problem

    Is your computer running slowly? Are programs starting unexpectedly? Is the activity light on your broadband or external modem constantly lit? Does it sound like your computer's hard disk is continually working? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, your computer might be infected...
  • Blog Post: Check security settings in Windows Vista

    The newest version of Windows is Windows 8, but we know that many of you still use Windows Vista. The best way to ensure that Windows Vista is as secure as it can be is to use the Windows Security Center, which is built into Windows Vista. The Windows Security Center can help you check the status...
  • Blog Post: How do I keep my firewall on?

    Using a firewall is like locking the front door to your house—it helps keep intruders (in this case, hackers and malicious software ) from getting in. Windows Firewall is included in Windows and is turned on by default. If you see a warning that your firewall is turned off, it could be because...
  • Blog Post: Why does my AV software keep turning off?

    Bob writes: My antivirus software keeps turning off and I can’t get it back on. Here are the most common reasons you might encounter this problem: Your computer is already infected with rogue security software The warning that you’re antivirus software is turned off might be a...
  • Blog Post: How to get rid of a computer virus

    Is your computer running more slowly than usual? Does it stop responding or freeze often? It might have a virus. If you can connect to the Internet These instructions are different depending on which operating system you’re using. Check your operating system Windows 8 If your computer...
  • Blog Post: There is no Hotmail Maintenance Department

    Cassie writes: I received an email from the Hotmail Maintenance Department requesting personal information verification. The message included a PDF file. Is this a scam? Yes. This is one of many types of email cybercrime, also called phishing . Cybercriminals often use the Microsoft name to try...
  • Blog Post: Should I use more than one antivirus program?

    You don’t need to install more than one antivirus program . In fact, running more than one antivirus program at the same time can cause conflicts and errors that make your antivirus protection less effective or not effective at all. Windows 7 and Windows Vista include spyware protection called...
  • Blog Post: Top 10 security stories of 2012

    From the latest scams and fraud to how, when, and why to update your computer, here are the stories that you viewed and clicked on the most this year. Download security update for Internet Explorer . In September, Microsoft released a security update for Internet Explorer. To help protect your computer...
  • Blog Post: Spooky antivirus software

    Judy writes: My virus protection doesn't seem to want to stay on. I’ve been able to turn it back on, but when I shut down and then restart my computer later, the virus protection is off again . Is this some kind of Halloween trick? Having a virus is no treat Achieving 100 percent protection...
  • Blog Post: Beware of deceptive downloads

    The Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIR ) analyzes online threats using data from Internet services and over 600 million computers worldwide. Volume 13 of the SIR is now available and focuses on vulnerability disclosures from the first and second quarters of 2012. A featured article, Deceptive...
  • Blog Post: Fraud alert: Microsoft Services Agreement email scam

    We’ve received reports of a recent email scam that spoofs the Microsoft Services Agreement. View the real agreement . The scam email message replaces legitimate links in the agreement with links that can compromise your computer when clicked. If you receive mail that looks like the real agreement...
  • Blog Post: Important security information for your small business

    A computer virus is bad news for anyone, but it can be especially devastating to a small business. Microsoft Small Business Support Center resources include a free step-by-step guide to help you protect your computers from spyware, viruses, Trojans, and rootkits. The interactive guide will help...
  • Blog Post: Avoid scam phone calls

    Gabby writes: I just wanted to let you know that I received a phone call this evening from a guy called “Daniel” from “Technical Maintenance of Microsoft Windows.” He said that Microsoft had received error messages from my computer and he asked me to turn my computer on and...
  • Blog Post: Real or fake? The risks of software piracy

    If an online deal for software seems too good to be true, it probably is. The software could be pirated, which means that it's been copied and sold illegally. Pirated software often contains viruses , spyware , and scams that can cause a loss of data, a corrupted system, and even identity theft. Only...
  • Blog Post: Free tool automatically checks and builds up your computer’s defenses

    Want to know an easy way to make sure you have the most up-to-date security settings and software for your Windows operating system? Microsoft offers a free downloadable tool that scans your computer and makes recommended changes based on your current settings. Run the Microsoft Malware Prevention...
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