6 Step Internet Safety Plan

6 Step Internet Safety Plan

by Josh Kirschner for Techlicious

Techlicious offers 6 simple steps for managing the risks associated with today’s malware and security threats.–PC Pitstop.

Whether through a computer, phone or tablet, every one of us uses the Internet. In fact, the average US adult spends more than five hours a day online. While there are countless positive reasons to be online, all that activity also exposes us to new malware and privacy risks—risks that can be easily managed by following these simple tips.

1. Keep your software updated

Security holes in popular software programs make it easier for hackers to install malware on your devices. Once these holes are discovered, software companies usually issue updates to fix the issue. But, because many people don’t take the time to update their software, hackers quickly take advantage of these opportunities to install Trojans, spyware and other nasty programs.

The solution, though, is simple – keep your software updated.

For Windows, you can use Windows Update to make sure you’re getting the latest patches. This is usually set to update automatically, but here’s how can check to make sure.

In Windows 7, click the Start button, type “windows update” into the search box. Click on Windows Update in the results (it will be under the Program section of the results.) Click on “Change Settings” in the Windows Update window that pops up and then check to see that the Install Updates Automatically option has been selected under Important Updates section. Then choose OK to save your changes.

In Windows 8, open the Search charm, enter “turn automatic updating on or off” and then click Settings.
Mac OS X checks automatically for updates weekly if it has an internet connection. If it finds updates, it will it use a pop up window listing the changes and asking you if you are ready to install them.

Individual programs will usually give you a pop-up notification when an update is available. These updates are just as important as your operating system updates. Because of its wide-spread use, programs from Adobe and Oracle’s Java have been frequent targets for malware attacks.

2. Install malware protection
Trojans, viruses, keyloggers, zombie code, spyware and adware are continuously finding new ways to make it onto your devices. But many people are infected by malware that has been around for years, simply because they don’t have decent security software installed.

And don’t think you’re safe just because you’ve heard that a given device “can’t get a virus”. Windows, Macs, iOS and Android all have been the target of successful malware attacks. And many risks we face online aren’t based on what device we’re using. Phishing attacks—fraudulent websites that mimic real websites in order to collect personal information or user names and passwords—can happen anytime you click on the wrong link in an email or mistype a web address.

Most of the security vendors now offer packages that will protect all of your devices from these various attacks. And some, such as McAfee’s All Access, also offer password management features that will help you protect and sync your passwords, as well.

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This excerpt appears with the permission of Techlicious.

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