Internet Web TextProtect Yourself Online

As you use the Internet, you may run into problems. Popup windows may appear on your screen. Strange email messages might come asking for bank information. You wonder if it is OK to order things with your credit card. You might begin wonder if it is safe to use the Internet at all.

The truth is that it is not safe to use the Internet if you are not aware of potential problems, don't take preventative measures, don't use caution, and don't take responsibility for your actions.

In real life, you wouldn't enter a big city with money falling out of your pockets or respond to any come-on that a character on the street might put to you. You wouldn't aimlessly cross streets into traffic, and you wouldn't send your children into the seediest bar. You wouldn't turn over information about yourself to just anyone. You wouldn't expect that everything you hear, see, or read is true. Instead, you would use common sense and the advice of trusted authorities. Same thing with the Internet. Don't think of the Internet as a corner of your living room. Instead, view it as a big city--a place that can be exciting, educational, and of great value to you--but a place where you should use common sense and caution to avoid the traps that uneducated users fall for.

Awareness is Your Best Defense

Knowning the kinds of risks that can occur with Internet use can help you avoid problems, simply because your attention can be raised when you see common scams.

Prevention Work is Worth It

Protecting your computer and information from risks does take an investment of your time and effort, but considering the time and effort required to recover from a loss, it is well worth it.

Educate Yourself Continuously

There are many issues to know about to protect yourself, but don't get discouraged. A good site to use as an introduction is GetNetWise where you can access information about online safety, privacy, and security. The GetNetWise site recommends some software for purchase, but you may be able to put together a much cheaper (free) set of software programs for your personal security (see below, "Consider Installing Software").

Access more information at the Onguardonline.gov site to keep on top of issues having to do with online security and saftey.

Understand that the Internet--like life--will never be 100% safe. But do your best to know about potential problems and protect yourself.

Consider Installing Software

Find out recommended software for your computer to help increase your security. Computer magazines or their Web sites often run columns or articles covering security software. You need not spend a great deal of time or money to evaluate or buy security software or services.

I have a computer which uses the Windows Vista operating system. I have installed and regularly use the following software programs that are free for personal use:

I use an online backup service (which is not free, but well worth the $). A software program from the service runs on my computer and checks to see if any of my information files have been updated in the past 24 hours. The program automatically backs up file changes to remote servers at geographically separate areas of the country every 24 hours or whenever I feel I need a backup. This way, if my computer is completely destroyed at any time, I'm never facing more than 24 hours of work lost.

Set Settings

In my Windows Security Center (Control Panel -> Security Center), I have my Automatic Updates and Virus Protection all turned ON. I have my Windows Firewall turned ON.

Be Careful on Public WiFi Networks

Public WiFi networks can pose security risks. I use a set of Surf Links (see about) for browsing Web sites on public WiFi networks. Here's a list of the Best VPN services you can use to stay secure on a public Wi-Fi network. Essentially, I use caution when logging in to any password-protected site while using my computer on a public WiFi network such as in a Net Cafe.
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2017-06-15 · John December · Contact · Terms of Use © December Communications, Inc.