How to Stay Safe on the Internet - dummies

By Nancy C. Muir, Linda Criddle

No matter how safely you act online, if you allow your computer to be infected with viruses or spyware, your information could still be stolen and your safety compromised. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself when using the Internet:

  • Protect your computer. Install antivirus and anti-spyware software, and set these to automatically update.

  • Use a reputable browser. Use Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari, and keep the default security and privacy settings intact.

  • Keep up to date. Set your system so that it automatically checks for, and installs, software up-dates for your operating system and browser.

  • Don’t trade safety for savings. Do a little research to locate a good, free antivirus and anti-spyware service. There are plenty out there!

  • Turn on your firewall. A firewall is a part of your computer system or network that blocks unauthorized access while permitting outward communication.

    You access and manage the Windows Firewall through the Control Panel. To access and manage the firewall on a Mac, you go through System Preferences. A knowledgeable friend can help you check your firewall’s status.

  • If you’re using a home wireless network, make sure security is enabled for it. Check your settings. A knowledgeable friend can help you in this arena, too.