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Behavior to Help Keep You Secure Online

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Despite improvements in security software, operating systems, web broswers and e-mail clients the threats from different kinds of malware are still around and can still open up your computers to hackers, spammers and identity thieves who are looking sensitive data to steal your identity and your life savings or to use your computer to send spam e-mails to millions around the world. Firewalls, Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware programs offer essential protection that no computer should be without. Anti-Spyware and Anti-Virus are only as good as the latest definition files. Although highly unlikely it is still possible to get a virus even before the anti-virus software providers even know it exists. Just making a few simple changes to one’s e-mail and web surfing habits can make it a lot safer to use the Internet.

As it was back about ten years ago when e-mail carried viruses like the Love Bug and Klez the rule remains the same, when getting e-mails don’t open the attachments if the sender or the file type is unknown. E-mails with executable program files attached to them should never ever be opened. Even the sources or the contents of attachments appear to be trustworthy; viruses can still hitch a ride. Viruses and other kinds of malicious programs don’t even have to be attached, just clicking a like in an e-mail can download a malicious program. Links to regular web pages is usually pretty safe but if a link is to a file other a web page then extreme caution needs to be exercised. Using an up to date anti-virus program in conjunction with knowledge of what e-mails to read, whether links in e-mails is trustworthy and which e-mails to delete make using e-mail a lot safer than it’s been in the past.

Surfing the web cautiously is the rule to avoid spyware, adware and viruses. It is still incredibly common for Adware and spyware to use Microsoft’s ActiveX to initiate ‘drive by downloads’ Those who haven’t updated their web browser in a couple of years need to do so as soon as possible. Those running Windows 98 or Millennium Edition upgrading to Internet Explorer 7 isn’t an option but the Firefox browser is an excellent alternative for those using older operating systems. Having an up to date web browser doesn’t entirely eliminate the chance of getting adware on a computer. Commonly banner ads appear on web pages advertising programs to add thousands cursors and smileys for e-mails and instant messages.

The most common point of entry for viruses and other malware are the peer to peer networks that many people use to download music and movies. The best way to avoid the risks associated viruses is to avoid using peer to peer networks. The legal services like iTunes, Napster, or Rhapsody are completely virus free. If switching to a different source to get music online isn’t an option then extreme caution has to be used when on peer to peer networks. Executable files and zip files are going to contain viruses any file under two megabytes are also dangerous and must be avoided.

Using the Internet judiciously along with security software provides double the protection that will keep your data safe and your computer out of the repair shop.


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