Internet Safety Tips

When surfing the Web, even for everyday purposes, we are constantly exposed to a huge number of PC security threats, even when we don’t know about it.  As antivirus, antispam, and antispyware software continues to evolve and become more sophisticated to combat the ever-changing array of Web-based security threats, these threats themselves continue to evolve accordingly.

Internet safety experts warn that caution must be used at all times when surfing the Web.  Thousands of new viruses are created on a daily basis, while spammers and spyware purveyors are always updating their codes and techniques, finding new ways to both bother us and compromise the health of our computers.

By their nature, these threats are designed to go under the radar.  The most well-designed viruses and spyware enter our computers entirely without our knowledge, while we are simply going about our usual Web activities.  They are spread on legitimate Web sites, through emails that we think are fine, and are attached to totally unrelated downloads.

Search engines provide a great service for Internet users seeking high-quality content, but they also provide a danger to Internet safety, making millions of questionable Web sites freely available to ordinary Internet users.  When using search engines, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t just click on any of the results that come up.  Sometimes, just by clicking on a Web site, your computer may be infected with spyware or a virus.  Thus, make sure you are going to reputable Web sites.  If a search engine result looks funny, containing strange or garbled text, don’t even click on it.

Also, for Internet safety reasons, even when browsing Web sites that you visit every day, you need to be careful about which links you click.  Specifically, when you put your mouse pointer over the link, make sure the status bar shows that the link leads to where you think it leads.  Never mess around with Web sites that don’t seem reputable.  They may contain viruses or spyware, and they may have secretive ways to give it to you.

Meanwhile, it’s equally important for Internet safety to be careful with Web-based downloads.  Yes, sometimes it is necessary to download things, and some downloads are useful — but we must keep a close watch on who we are downloading from.  It’s important that we only download from reputable companies.  Companies like Microsoft and Mozilla present the minimal virus threat.  It’s good to stay away from downloads from companies that you’ve never heard of.

When using email, don’t click on unsolicited emails, particularly when they include attachments.  And more importantly, never, ever click on unsolicited attachments from people you don’t know.  This is how many viruses are spread.  Spam emails are usually obvious, but many are designed to look legitimate.  After you use email for a while, you will become better at spotting cloaked spam emails.  Until then, be as careful as possible.

Only so much can be done to stop Web-based computer threats, and for many PC users it’s almost inevitable that a few things will get through.  When this occurs, you may notice your computer slowing down a little, or you might find that certain programs crash or act differently.  If this is the case, you’ll want to seek help as soon as possible, whether through technical support entities or with PC security programs.

Speaking of which, Internet safety is made much easier by PC security software packages.  The best of these contain several different types of software, including antivirus, antispam, and antispyware programs.  I can’t recommend any one of these packages, as different ones are best for different people.  To find out which is best for you, you can read reviews, which are available in popular PC magazines and on the Web.

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