Surfing the Web is a vital activity in today’s connected world. News, stock prices, emails, and radio shows will appeal even to those who aren’t interested in the finer details like social media, work opportunities, and building their own blogs. There are all kinds of activities you can do on the Internet for entertainment or work, but unfortunately, they don’t come without risk.
Like any technology, the Internet has risks associated with its use. There are people who just try to profit from it without thinking of the consequences for others, or who even deliberately harm others’ computer systems. You can, however, be safe as long as you maintain your personal security. Here are some ways you can do that.
Secure your Internet connection
If you have a wireless Internet connection, you need to make sure it is secure. Set up a password for the Wi-Fi with a technician’s help or the help of someone who is good with computers. It should be memorable but strong – don’t choose “password” as the password, for example. If you are in a rural area where few people drive by, this is less important but still should not be neglected. Those in urban areas where others can easily connect from a smartphone outside or a laptop at a nearby store should be even more careful.
Use an Anti-Virus Program
Every computer connected to the Internet in your household should have an anti-virus program. Windows computers in particular are vulnerable to viruses, and should be regularly scanned to make sure there are no malware programs (malicious programs that disguise themselves as innocent ones) or suspect files on your computer. Viruses can come in many different forms, and a good anti-virus is the only way to catch them. If you accidentally run a virus, you could end up destroying your personal information, sending it to other people, or having your computer secretly used to spam other people.
Beware of Spam and Scams
When you send and receive email, be careful of what you open. If you receive an email from someone you don’t know with a strange message and an attachment, don’t open the attached file. Even if it is someone you know, if something seems odd about their message, ask them whether they really sent it before opening the file. Similarly, never give personal information away over email unless you are completely certain you are responding to an official account. Banks and similar institutions will never email you to ask for your password.
Staying secure on the Internet is important, especially if you are a new Internet user. Many people are just getting a steady connection for the first time and are beginning to explore the vast potential of the Internet. There are many good things you can see and do online, but there are also viruses, scammers, and spammers to watch out for. As long as you use common sense and make sure to ask tech-savvy friends or a technician for help when you need it, you can be secure online.
Jessica Oakley is a data security manager. She loves sharing her best tips about staying safe online on family blogs. Click DellGines.com to find out more.