How to Stay Safe Online with Better Computer Security
Every year it seems like there is some new, more sophisticated computer virus that is harder to detect than the ones before. Every time a new social network is made available to the public, some nefarious cyber criminal is potting a way to infect the computers of those who use the new service, steal user passwords and other personal information, or commit some other type of internet crime.
Just One Is Too Many
Whether you are using a new computer or still pecking away on one that you’ve had for years, the last thing you want to deal with is a computer virus. Glenn Turner, founder of the motivational program titled Dare to Be Great, once said, “…just one virus on a computer is too many.” That’s so true, but one internet security threat is too many as well.
But sadly, attacks on the internet that we rely on to get us through our daily lives faces new and more serious attacks each year.
In 2011, the number of browser-based attacks rose to 946 million, which was nearly doubled from the amount recorded during the previous year alone. (www.securelist.com)
Vaccinating Against Viruses and More
While the security that comes with your computer can help, sometimes you need a secondary form of protection as well. When choosing this other program, be sure that it is up to date with the latest technology. For example, the program ESET protects against both computer viruses and internet threats, and already supports the newly released Windows 8.
In an article in Forbes magazine, Tom Cross, director of security research at the security software firm Lancope, offers that while longer passphrases and auditing networks for weak passwords can help, there is legitimate concern over attackers who enter networks with legitimate credentials that fail to trigger any kind of detection system. (www.forbes.com) Here are some other tips for beefing up your computer security.
Internet Connection – Security begins with your internet connection. It’s a sad fact that using a free source of internet, like public WiFi in coffee shops is putting your computer at risk. A good rule of thumb is this: don’t do anything on an open WiFi connection that you wouldn’t want posted on the front page of the newspaper. This is especially true for your financial information, such as bill paying and logging into any online bank accounts, including PayPal.
Password Safety – Never give anyone your password. Writing them down somewhere that others can find them is also a bad idea. If you become a member on a website that gives you a temporary password, change it to something unique and original as soon as possible. If you are playing a video game and someone posing as an administrative person asks for your password, report them to the real admins and if you get an email asking for your password, ignore it.
Enable Firewalls – A firewall is a kind of barrier that stands between the information on your computer and those who would use the internet to try and destroy that information. It does this by filtering information that comes through the internet and into your personal computer. If the firewall’s filters flag certain pieces of information, then those bits are not allowed through. This is true whether a firewall is working to protect your personal or home computer or a network of equipment for a large corporation.
Anti-Virus Software – Would you believe there are people who do not use anti-virus software? This type of software scans files in order to find any kind of a threat that might harm your computer. Because hackers and other malware sources are always changing their sources, it’s important to have software that is up to date about the latest threats. Resources such as Eset coupons make it easy for anyone to keep their computer protected.
Keeping Kids Safe
Sadly, a lot of computer security threats are geared towards children and websites meant to attract young people. Online games and popular cartoon characters might look safe on the surface, but pop up ads and downloadable content on so-called family websites could contain material that could damage your family’s computer.
Never let children browse online by themselves. If necessary, use programs that set time limits and filter content in order to block any kind of offensive material. Some programs, once installed on a computer, will send alerts to an email address designated by the user whenever that content appears on a webpage or in an Instant Message.
The best part about teaching children the importance of internet safety when they are young is that as they grow into teenagers and young adults, they will already have a good foundation for staying safe online. As technology infiltrates their lives at younger and younger ages, keeping kids safe goes beyond “stranger danger” at the playground, but now must include computer safety as well.
- License: Creative Commons image source
About the Author
Freelance writer Sophie Evans is passionate about children and internet safety because she and her husband want to keep their own children safe whenever they are online. Working from home allows not only allows her to spend more time with her family but also allows her to visit sites like www.dailydeals4you.com that provide information about software savings and discounts. When she’s not writing Sophie looks for ways to make her house more eco-friendly.