Over the past twenty years, the internet has changed how we live. Whether it’s shopping or socialising, nothing is spared the influence of the web, which, sadly for some, means it’s inevitable to use a computer.
Families and novice computer users in particular can be put off by the horror stories heard about getting online; losing sacred data or having bank accounts ‘hacked’, it seems danger lurks around every corner, but, with some simple precautions, browsing the internet, with all it’s marvelous benefits, can be safe.
If you’re concerned about what could go wrong when you’re online, then have a read of our three key steps to internet safety. They’re all pretty simple to implement and really are a ‘must have’ to keep your confidential details just that!
#1 Fight off those nasty viruses
Antivirus software is an absolute must when it comes to using the internet, especially if you’re not too savvy. In a nutshell, a decent antivirus program will prevent your computer downloading any harmful files, which could potentially track your passwords, what you do, or even steal your information.
In most cases, computer shops will try and sell antivirus software as an extra with any PC purchase. That’s fine, usually stuff like McAfee and Norton will do the job, but you do have to pay for it (in some cases, it’s actually cheaper to purchase this separately when you get home). If you’re a bit more switched on, there are loads of great free options available for downloading straight from the internet, such as AVG, Avast and Avira.
When you’re using your computer, you won’t notice any differences with antivirus installed, which is handy as it doesn’t intrude on your time, but, if you ever come across something a bit iffy, the software will flag it up and check whether you really do want to download the files.
Pro tip: As with any computer software, updating and upgrading is required at regular intervals, to make sure it stays relevant.
#2 Stop them in their tracks
If you have a family computer, there’s a good chance that the kids can use it better than you. This poses a fairly modern dilemma, as it can be difficult to determine the best way to keep children safe online, whilst not stifling them and removing all the possibilities available on the internet.
One quick and fairly robust way to keep them out of harm’s way is to enable a firewall. Most computers come with a ready installed firewall which will prevent any traffic from less than exemplary sites; such as adult content or violence. That means that, whilst kids can scour the net, they’re less likely to come across stuff they shouldn’t (please notice the use of the word ‘less’, no firewall is totally impenetrable).
Pro tip: Right out of the box, your PC has a functional firewall, simply visit your control panel and check that it is turned on.
#3 A decent check up
As with all things, computers are susceptible to neglect. If you leave your PC unchecked and leave it’s programs out of date, it’s way more likely to pick up issues.
Whilst it may be time consuming, it’s well worth running a malware scan (weekly, if possible) to make sure there’s nothing too dangerous that’s made it’s way from the web. Usually, antivirus programs have computer scans included, but there are more in-depth scans available if you need more peace of mind.
We have a handy list of maintenance recommendations to print out.
As well as running scans, make sure you’re regularly updating your computer (most will prompt you to do so), to make sure it’s defences at least match up to the threats posed online.
There you have it, some pretty straight forward, idiot proof steps to upping your internet safety. A few little tweaks here and there and you’ll be much better protected from theft or malware. If you’re still not sure how to keep your system safe, why not let us come and have a look at how we can secure your PC.
We’d love to hear your feedback, leave us a comment or drop us a message and tell us what computer concerns you have. You never know, we may just cover it soon!