How To Keep Your Computer Updated For Online Safety

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by Barbara J. Feldman on March 4, 2008

You have always heard the phrase “safety first” when it comes to driving or operating machinery. You always want to wear a seatbelt and have a working engine before you operate a vehicle. You want to make sure you have a parachuting checklist when going skydiving. Using the Internet on you computer is really no different. There are many evil and terrible viruses, and spyware, that would just love to destroy your computer. Hackers would also love to access your personal files so they can steal your personal information. You should try to avoid these. But, sometimes, even the best of us fall victim to viruses, worms, hackers and spyware. So you need to have a line of defense to greet these invaders and terminate them. We do this with special computer programs and hardware and software firewalls. But, there is a limitation to this line of defense. The anti-virus software can only detect and terminate known viruses at the time the anti-virus software was last updated. So any virus made afterwards can pose a threat. Although having any anti-virus software is good, having the most current and up to date software can assure you the safest Internet connection possible.

First, why is Internet safety important? Well, there are many viruses, and spyware out there that can fry your computer. They can damage programs, delete your important files, slow your computer’s booting up time, and slow down your Internet connection. Spyware can monitor what you do on your computer and control things that your computer does. You don’t want all this nasty stuff to happen to your system. This is why you want your personal computer and/or laptop to be free of viruses and spyware.

How do you get “infected”? There are many ways. One way would be through direct contact. An example would be like having the virus inserted onto flash drive and inserting the flash drive into the computer’s USB port. But, unfortunately, keeping viruses from your computer is not as simple as taping the USB port shut. There are viruses that you can get through email, networks, and even just clicking on certain banners and web sites. There are certain banners you should just avoid. Banners that claim you have spyware, and claim you need to click on the banner to cure your computer are phonies. Clicking on them will ensure you will get spyware. Certain programs also will get you a virus, such as illegal music downloads.

Where should you get protection from all these viruses and such? Well, most computers already have some sort of anti-virus and anti-spyware software on them. But, remember the older your anti-virus program, the fewer viruses it knows to eliminate. Also, if you only go online occasionally, your virus protection software may not have enough time to update with the latest viruses. There are around 10,000 viruses written for PCs. That number isn’t going down. You can either buy a new computer with updated software, or you can purchase new anti-virus software from wherever computers and computer accessories are sold. There are two main kinds of anti-virus software. One is heuristic analysis. This method, it tries to open up programs, and if the program is using a self-modifying code, then it assumes it is a virus. But, unfortunately, it isn’t always correct. It sometimes brings up stuff that isn’t a virus. Another form of anti-virus software looks for suspicious behavior. It keeps close watch over all of your computer programs. If one program acts like a virus, the anti-spyware software considers the suspect to be a threat, and asks you what to do. Some of the suspects are innocent and not viruses. You may get many false alarms. You might not know what to do, and you may accidentally let a virus on your computer. You would do this because you know that the software sometimes accidentally brought innocent suspects to your attention, and you would think your software was just being dumb, and you would accidentally let it through. This isn’t good because it renders your anti-virus software useless.

Always think safety first when surfing the web. Also have the most up to date anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall software to ensure it.


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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "How To Keep Your Computer Updated For Online Safety." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 4 Mar. 2008. Web. 24 Apr. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/364/how-to-keep-your-computer-updated-for-online-safety/ >.