Computer Tips #1: Use A Firewall And Anti-Virus
It may seem obvious to most people, but it needs to be said anyway: the best protection from Internet scum is a firewall combined with good anti-virus.
Any firewall, like the firewall that comes with Windows, will protect you from active threats—hackers and viruses trying to break into your computer from the Internet. Virus removal software will protect you from threats that you unintentionally download from the Internet.
You don’t need to worry much about what firewall you use—they all work almost equally effectively, but you should use top-rated anti-virus software. The top anti-virus software is frequently updated to deal with current threats.
Computer Tips #2: Use A Recent Browser
Most of the top browsers, including Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, include a feature that will warn you before you visit a website containing known viruses and other malware. But you only get this feature in the most recent versions of the browsers, so if you use an older browser, consider downloading the newest version as soon as you finish reading this article.
Computer Tips #3: Install Security Updates
Any software on your computer which connects to the Internet needs to be updated frequently—at least once a month. Windows itself will automatically download updates, install them, and prompt you to reboot. You should reboot as soon as possible—don’t put it off several days in a row.
Your Web browser and email client also need to be updated frequently. Most browsers and email programs today let you check for updates from the Help or Tools menus. I suggest you put a reminder on your calendar to check for updates every month.
Online multi-player games need to be updated too. Many of them will update themselves, but if you have any doubts, check their menus for an option to check for updates.
Look for other software you use online and see when it was last updated. You can find an About option in the Help menu of most programs which will include a last-updated date. If it is more than a few months old, you should check for updates.
Computer Tips #4: Check URLs
Before you enter a password—or even your username—take a long look at the Web address (URL) of the website your visiting. Hackers often use fake websites to fool people into giving away their username and passwords.
Some of these fake websites use hacked websites, so they’ll look like PayPal but have a URL that says www.example.com. But sometimes the hackers get clever and use a URL that will fool you if you don’t look closely—for example, paypa1.com, which replaces the l in PayPal with a number 1.
The best way to defeat these sort of hackers is to type the URL to websites yourself. In my case, I never click on a link to paypal.com—I always type paypal.com directly into my Web browser so I know exactly where I’m going.