Digital Makeover: Learn How to Protect Yourself Against Viruses and Malware #30DaysofGOOD

These free articles and resources can help protect you and your digital devices against bugs, worms, and other Internet nasties.

30 Days of GOOD (#30DaysofGOOD) is our monthly attempt to live better. This month we're focused on improving the way we use technology.

Last week, computer-security company McAfee released its latest research on malware, spam, and viruses (pdf). The new data paints a dismal picture, showing the largest surge in cyberattacks to occur in four years. McAfee says it has identified more than 8 million new types of malicious software in the past few months alone. And unlike in previous years, these threats aren't limited to only PC users.

"Attacks that we've traditionally seen on PCs are now making their way to other devices," said Vincent Weafer, head of McAfee Labs. "This report highlights the need for protection on all devices that may be used to access the Internet."


Today's task is to learn how to protect yourself and your digital devices against viruses, bugs, worms, and other Internet nasties. Like we said when we talked about the need for creating better passwords, there may not be a way to fully guarantee online safety, but there are several things you can do to reduce the likelihood that you'll be the victim of malware.

The FBI offers a basic (but quite valuable) guide to protecting your computer, with tips for using firewall software and keeping your operating system up to date, plus suggestions for safer web surfing.

Although Windows IT Pro generally focuses on tech solutions for the professional IT community, the site also has some great resources for average users like you and me. This directory of free programs for keeping your Windows PC secure includes web-based tools, browser plug-ins, and downloadable software.

If you're a Mac user, take a look at Wired's guide to checking for malware. It's part of Wired's collaborative How-To project; since it's in wiki form, you can make edits and add your own Mac security tips.

FInally, be sure to bookmark PCWorld's recent article about protecting your smartphones and tablets. It's got explanations of all the different online threats, and offers practical tips for finding a comprehensive security solution for your specific collection of devices.


Four black women, Engineers Christine Darden and Mary Jackson, mathematician Katherine Johnson, and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughn, worked as "human computers" at NASA during the Space Race, making space travel possible through their complex calculations. Jackson, Johnson, and Vaughn all played a vital role in helping John Glenn become the first American to orbit the Earth.

They worked behind the scenes, but now they're getting the credit they deserve as their accomplishments are brought to the forefront. Their amazing stories were detailed in the book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly, which was later turned into a movie. (Darden was not featured in the movie, but was in the book). Johnson has a building at NASA named after her, and a street in front of NASA's Washington D.C. headquarters was renamed "Hidden Figures Way."

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Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

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Courtesy of John S. Hutton, MD

A report from Common Sense Media found the average child between the ages of 0 and 8 has 2 hours and 19 minutes of screen time a day, and 35% of their screen time is on a mobile device. A new study conducted by the Cincinnati Children's Hospital published in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics, found exactly what all that screen time is doing to your kid, or more specifically, your kid's developing brain. It turns out, more screen time contributes to slower brain development.

First, researchers gave the kids a test to determine how much and what kind of screen time they were getting. Were they watching fighting or educational content? Were they using it alone or with parents? Then, researchers examined the brains of children aged 3 to 5 year olds by using MRI scans. Forty seven brain-healthy children who hadn't started kindergarten yet were used for the study.

They found that kids who had more than one hour of screen time a day without parental supervision had lower levels of development in their brain's white matter, which is important when it comes to developing cognitive skills, language, and literacy.

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via KTVU / YouTube

The 63-year-old Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, currently branded the RingCentral Coliseum, is one of the most decrepit sports venues in America.

The home to the the NFL's Oakland Raiders (until they move to Las Vegas next season) and MLB's A's, is notoriously known as the Black Hole and has made headlines for its frequent flooding and sewage issues.

One of the stadium's few positive aspects is its connection to public transportation.

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via Anadirc / Flickr

We spend roughly one-third of our life asleep, another third at work and the final third trying our best to have a little fun.

But is that the correct balance? Should we spend as much time at the office as we do with our friends and family? One of the greatest regrets people have on their deathbeds is that they spent too much of their time instead of enjoying quality time with friends and family.

Lawmakers in the United Kingdom have made a significant pledge to reevaluate the work-life balance in their country.

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