Computers and the Internet have opened up an entire world of knowledge and information to us and allow us to communicate in ways with people that many would never have thought possible. Because of the vastness of the Internet and the variety of things and people that you can interact with online, there are certain measures that need to be taken to keep yourself and your information safe and secure. Here are some tips for choosing your Internet options that will keep you safer from would-be intruders.
There are many ways to customize your Internet experience to fit your needs and the needs of your family. Below are some tips that will help you determine if and what you should be doing to make your computer more secure for the people who use it.
Make sure basic security features are always installed and functioning properly
It is best to begin with settings that should be in place on all computers regardless of their intended use online. Every computer should have anti virus protection, a firewall and other necessary anti-spam, phishing and other programs. Virus protection is important because every computer connected to the Internet is vulnerable to these harmful viruses and other programs that can be downloaded remotely on your computer without this protection. Be sure to keep your virus “definitions” up to date and make periodic scans that will tell you if there have been any intrusion attempts. A firewall will also protect you from other computers that try and download Trojan horse programs on your computer and will ensure that any installations are done only with your permission.
Set your security settings according to your needs and experience level
It’s no myth that there are computer nerds out there that really do know a lot more about computers than anyone we probably know, that can manage their own system and tell the computer what they want it to do. But for most of us, we just want the computer to do what it is pre-programmed to do. Beginners (and even some who know more) will usually just set Internet security options to the default levels. These settings, which are usually set by the Internet service provider or the operating system automatically, will allow for optimized daily use of things like e-mail, online shopping, and just researching online.
If you need more advanced options to be set for your computer, learn how and make sure that you aren’t leaving any holes for intrusion. If you aren’t sure whether you are able to make these changes on your own, it is probably best to leave them the way they came installed on your computer. You will know if you need to change them for the way you want to use your computer.
Customized usernames and parental controls
When the computer is going to be shared by the whole family or just a few people, there can and probably should be different usernames for each person. This allows the computers administrator to keep track of what everyone is using the Internet for and allows them to make changes according to rules and age related concerns. Time limits for sessions can be set to make sure kids aren’t on the computer too long each day. Parents can also block specific sites that may cause trouble or a group of sites like chatrooms, or blogging sites. And again these settings can be changed for each individual according to their needs and what they will be using the computer for. Always keep in mind that the security options you specify on your computer should fit your needs and allow you to do the tasks you normally perform online.