Safe Surfing - Netsense
Surfing the Internet Safely
Protecting your Computer Online
Learn how to help protect your computer while you surf the internet.
If you are new to the internet and perhaps personal computing, then you need to know how to protect your computer while you are surfin' the 'net.
The following steps should help you enjoy your experience rather than fall victim to hackers or viruses.
Hackers and Firewalls
A hacker is a general term for someone who uses their computer skills to break into another's computer. It isn't a personal thing, it is just what they do. You may believe there is nothing of interest to a hacker on your computer. However, if your computer is connected to the internet, it is a target. Do not get caught out, use a firewall! A firewall helps protect you from being hacked.
If your computer security suite (you are using one, right?) doesn't contain a firewall you can get an excellent free one called ZoneAlarm. If you haven't already installed a firewall, do it now!
Viruses and Antivirus Software
Another essential step is to protect your computer from viruses. To do this, you need to install, and importantly, keep updated; a good anti-virus program. If your computer came with antivirus software make certain it is installed, and most importantly, fully up to date.
If you do not have any antivirus software, you can download a free to use version from AVG. Many other Anti virus companies offer free-trial versions.
Keeping Everything Updated
Almost as important as good security software is updating the various applications running on your computer to the latest version, for example, Adobe's Flash and PDF software. One of the most useful utilities available for making certain you are up to date with all your programs is the terrific application from Secunia called Personal Software Inspector (PSI). It runs in the background monitoring software changes and does a weekly scan to check that all the software you have on your PC or laptop is the latest security-patched version. This is a vital part of hardening your computer against the latest threats.
If you use Microsoft Windows, I would also recommend you visit the Gibson Research Company which offers several very useful (free) utilities to deal with some of the built-in security loopholes in Windows XP (although Windows Vista and Windows 7 don't suffer as many issues).