Sunday, September 4, 2011

Internet Safety 101

Internet safety has more to do with your computer’s security; however, there are a few things to keep in mind when browsing the web as well as a few security tips.  I am not going to cover web etiquette, cyber bulling, or online predators or any of that other “nonsense."

  • First, a note about web browsers myths – I have seen a large number of ads about web browsers.  For example, for a more secure web browsing experience you should upgrade to Mozilla Firefox.  Or you should use Internet Explorer for browsing the web and use a more secure browser (Firefox or Google Chrome) for financial transactions.  For the most part this all pure nonsense, your web browser is only as safe as you make it or as safely as you use it.  Just make sure you are using the latest, most up-to-date version of your browser.
  • Security tip – make sure you have Windows Update on.  In Windows XP, visit: www.update.microsoft.com.  For Windows Vista and 7 users, Windows Update is located in the Start Menu under All Programs >> Windows Update.  Having the latest security patches will prevent threats from getting in.
  • Stay away from questionable websites!  If you do not want malicious software on your computer, then do not visit sites that often host this content (I do not believe I have to say what types of sites host this crap?).
  • Be extremely careful of websites that want to run add-ons; trusted sites such as your bank, email provider, ect. should be ok.
  • When downloading files, do not run the files save the files to the hard drive first.  Most websites I see always tell you when you see the popup for the download to run the file, do not listen to this, instead save!
  • Be careful of files that you download online, especially from free sites (backgrounds, music, programs, ect.)!  Files from free sites such as a free animated desktop background, for example, will often contain viruses or at the very least will attempt to install unwanted software.
  • Downloading torrents – if you are attempting to steal a program such as Microsoft Windows (or maybe Adobe software) this way – well lets just say you deserve what you will get!  Again, torrents from trusted sources such as the program’s maker should be ok.
  • I have mentioned this before, but it is worth mentioning again – most viruses require some action on your part to be installed.  If you see something suspicious – close the browser and DO NOT click on anything!  If you have to pull the plug!  For an example of this, check out an earlier blog post: http://www.computer-skills.info/2011/04/how-to-spot-fake-anti-virus-virus.html.

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