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TheStreet Open House

BATS Lessons: 3 Easy Steps That Will Protect Your Computer

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It's a sign of our times: When disaster strikes, like the BATS trading fiasco last Friday, my thoughts wander from human error to human intent.

I do not wander alone.

"It's the first thing that comes to my mind," says Logan Scott, principal of LS Consulting, who was kind enough to walk me through the intricacies of how positional systems like GPS can be used to compromise a trading networks like BATS. "I ask, was something compromised when trading failed?"

Worse, it's not just computer-driven trading networks. These days, all business computer networks face strange new threats.

"The same technologies Google uses to make cloud computing cheap, criminals now use to make compromising a computer cheap," says Stefan Savage, professor of computer science at the University of San Diego.

That means, friends, no business PC or Mac is attack proof. You got that right, my Apple brethren, those glory days when we did not have to worry about computer security are over. Lots can go wrong with an Apple product.

The good news is, experts agree that upgrading the security-readiness of your business network is not the dark art it used to be.

>>Also see: How to Keep Your PC Safe From Hackers

Assuming you are running up-to-date virus software from a known maker like Symantec, or Intel's McAfee, here are three simple steps you can take this minute to keep your shop from being the next meltdown on the Internet playground.

1. Run the most current operating system for every PC and Mac you own. Listen up, Windows XP/MAC OS 8 users: Holding onto an outdated computer is about the dumbest thing you can do. Why? Older software is not as actively supported as it should be by either Microsoft or Apple. So attackers find new exploits for these geezer PCs all the time.

Upgrading a computer is no longer a nightmare. My little digital world uses both an ancient Pentium 4 Dell and a vintage Apple MacBook, both with up-to-date, upgraded operating systems. A cheap desktop costs just $300 these days. There really is no excuse for having an outdated computer. So get rid of 'em.

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