Internet security is quickly becoming an issue in almost every household across America. Many important factors in our daily lives function based on our ability to connect to the Internet or some other type of network and to successfully retrieve or download information. It is important to understand the risks of using the Internet so that we don’t expose ourselves to unnecessary threats while online. It is difficult to narrow it down but here are the top five things you need to know about Internet security.
1. Keep your firewall turned on
A firewall is a must for everyone who plans on using their computer while it is connected to the Internet (there are very few now who are not connected). Whether the connection is the fastest available and used every minute of the day or slow and used infrequently, it is important to keep this protection up to date and active on your computer. Most computer operating systems come with a firewall pre-installed to make sure every user has it. There are also other firewalls that provide specific features for business or other local or home networks that may be able to improve performance online and for the computer in general. The purpose of a firewall is to keep unwanted lookers out of your computer and to keep the information you don’t want shared on your computer and only there.
2. Keep your operating system up-to-date
As new threats are invented and discovered and problems with operating systems reveal themselves, there are usually many updates available to keep your computer running smoothly and to safeguard your information. Most computers will be pre-set to automatically receive updates at a specific time each day. The computer will try and “take care of itself” and communicate the necessary changes and updates to those who need to know to keep it running the best possible.
3. Use updated antivirus software
Antivirus software is one of the most important software programs you can have downloaded on your computer. Many computers come with one installed but usually only offer a free trial for a certain amount of time. Antivirus software is available for purchase from many companies like Symantec and others. There are also many free versions out there that will also give you basic protection. Whether you decide to buy a program or use a free one, keep in mind that you should always keep it up to date. Each program has virus “definitions” that allow the computer to recognize any intruders or problem areas when a scan is performed. It is important to keep these “definitions” up to date and keep the program working at all times. Many people suggest even turning off your computer when you aren’t using it, like at night.
4. Use updated antispyware technology
Spyware is another method used by scammers and intruders to see what types of websites you access, what you are buying online and what you do while on the Internet. Many antivirus programs also have a segment that includes antispyware software. Make sure that this is also up to date and active.
5. Be aware of how your computer is used.
Perhaps the most important thing to know about Internet security is to be aware of what is going on while you are online. People are sometimes there for less than noble reasons and want to get you to give them information you shouldn’t. People may not always be who they seem online, and there is really no way to tell who they are. Make sure that the things you do online don’t expose you to risks that don’t need to be taken. Don’t be discouraged and use the Internet to do the things you want, just be sure to take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety online.