How can I security check my computer?

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If you recently received a spam or phishing email from a friend, family member or other contact using an email address we’ve put together this updated security advice.

Did you click on an email link or download an attachment?

  • No, I was suspicious

If you deleted the emails immediately we have some essential security tips for you – now is a great time to take the opportunity to check the security of your computer and update your knowledge of online scams and phishing

  • Yes, I clicked the link, visited a website, logged in or downloaded a file

If you did click through on the email link or downloaded a file, it’s possible that your computer may have downloaded malicious software without you knowing it. Follow our advice below on scanning your computer, using anti-virus software and more security tips at Security Central.

If you went to a website and entered any personal details or a credit card number you may also have fallen victim to identity theft. If you are concerned about your credit card call your bank for more advice.

Do you have up to date security software?

Anti-virus software is one important way to secure your computer (we have more tips below).

If you don’t have anti-virus software installed on your computer or just want to double check the security of your machine you can use one of the following free web based security scanning tools.

We particularly recommend using the ESET Online Scanner if you visited any sites linked to from the Xtra spam emails.

You should also download and run Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free and consider their paid version. This tool will check your system for malicious software.

Each tool has its strengths but remember that these are only effective at the time you run themyou need security software installed that will offer real time protection, checking files you download and links you click on.

Downloading free or buying reputable software that runs regular scans (these can be timed to run when you don’t need to use the computer to work more quickly) and is frequently updated to counter ‘zero day’ malware is one of the NetBasics steps to improved computer security.

Online scanning tools

Eset Online Scanner

Scan your PC in one simple click without having to register any contact information and using the same heuristic detection algorithms available from ESET’s Threat Lab.

Microsoft Safety Scanner

A free downloadable security tool that provides on-demand scanning and helps remove viruses, spyware, and other malicious software (expires after 10 days).

Symantec Security Check

Download the free Norton Security Scan which will conduct automatic weekly security scans.

TrendMicro HouseCall

An on-demand scanner for identifying and removing viruses, Trojans, worms, unwanted browser plugins, and other malware.

Cyber Security in 5 minutes

4 simple steps to protect yourself online

Almost half of online adult New Zealanders have been victims of cyber crime in the last 12 months. This includes computer viruses and malware, credit card fraud, online scams, phishing, identity theft and more.

If you are a Telecom customer make sure you follow the company’s latest advice on their website.

We advise all our Yahoo! Xtra email customers reset their email passwords by going to the following link:

Using strong, unique passwords on your online accounts and changing your passwords regularly is a great way to improve your security.

You should also ensure that:

  • Your operating system (Windows, Mac, etc) is up to date and being patched
  • You have anti-virus software or a security suite on your machine
  • You have a firewall running
  • You’ve updated ‘helper apps’ like Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader and Java
  • Your web browser is up to date

Following our seven point computer security checklist is a great way to get started.

If you struggle with computers  you can run the free Secunia scanner which can find other weak spots on your computer including out of date software. You could consider installing their free Personal Software Inspector tool to monitor other vulnerabilities.

If you aren’t that confident dealing with technology it may be worth asking a friend or family member for help with the checklist to ensure you don’t lose anything you have stored on the computer. Or consider supporting your local computer technician by paying for their expert advice.

Take 4 simple steps to protect yourself at

1 Comment

  1. Whitney says:

    Thank you so much, this helped me so much. Thanks
    Cheers Whitney

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