It’s on the news every day, it’s in the newspaper, and people say it all the time. “The internet is just not a safe place.” Still, security online is not as high of a priority to many people as it probably should be. In this article, scenarios will be thrown out and ideas of how to protect you will be given.
Viruses and Hackers
It is quite likely you know someone who has been attacked by a computer virus. These guys are no more welcome than the flu virus in humans. What can be done to keep these things at bay? The easiest solution is to use an anti-virus.
There are some excellent free options out there such as AVG, a vast, and Avira. Also, there are some excellent paid subscriptions you can get from Kaspersky as well as those mentioned above if you subscribe to the “you get what you pay for” line of though.
An anti-virus will detect and remove any virus that infiltrates your system. Also you could try using a program like Super AntiSpyWare or Spyware Blaster to give you some additional security.
A firewall is also nice to have. You can obtain a free firewall from Zone Alarm or Komodo. The only reason I haven’t mentioned full-service programs such as MacAfee or Symantec (Norton) is because there have been a lot of reports of these slowing systems down significantly.
Especially if you have an older system, I would recommend going with one of the services I have mentioned. Also, please remember that Microsoft will never email you about updates. All updates can be downloaded from the Microsoft Updates website.
Unfortunately, this problem is not as easily solved as the problem of viruses. There are, however, some steps you can take to prevent this from happening to you:
- You haven’t won the Nigerian lottery. I know it’s heartbreaking, but I promise this is a scam to get your personal information and money. In general, if it seems too good to be true (especially in the online world) it almost certainly is.
- Use a service like PayPal to pay for your online purchases so your credit card number isn’t flying around the internet.
- Handle as much business as you are comfortable with over the phone or in person, such as paying bills and anything regarding your social security number. Use of your social security number would be well-advised to only be done in person.
- Check your credit report regularly. If someone has managed to steal your identity, this will likely give you a good indication.
Protecting Your Children
For children, the online world can be a scary and confusing place. There are so many bad influences out there; you need to safeguard them against some of those dangers. This is where a service such as Net Nanny comes in quite handy. You can set filters for what your children can and cannot see and access and track what they do access.
Keeping them from seeing bad things is only the beginning of the battle, though. There is the very real possibility that they will run into a sexual predator. The anonymity provided by the internet allows this to be all too easy. While there is no 100% cure-all for this.