Staying safe on the internet has to do with the programs you use and the precautions you take to keep viruses and other people out of your computer.
This is one of the best ways to protect yourself from identity theft. Believe me, the last thing you want is for a complete stranger to drain all your hard earned money from your bank accounts.
To stay safe on the internet you will need some key programs and procedures you follow.
First, you need to have an antivirus program on your computer. Whether you have a PC or a Mac, you need an antivirus to scan your computer files for anything out of the ordinary. Your antivirus program is kind of like a bouncer at a club; its job is to keep any unauthorized activity out of your machine.
This is your first line of defense against major viruses and hackers. There’s a theory out there that Mac’s don’t get viruses, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Hackers are getting better all the time so it’s best to be protected.
Most antivirus programs also have built-in firewalls. A firewall serves as an extra layer of protection between you and whatever is floating around on the internet, the stuff you don’t want on your computer.
Most routers will also have one so you generally end up having 2 firewalls per computer.
Don’t forget that your antivirus is a yearly subscription and you get what you pay for. There are some free ones that work fine, but just know you’ll get better protection with a paid version.
Think about what you have on your computer. Is that information worth more than $40-$100 per year?
Keeping your antivirus program up to date is the cheapest insurance policy available.
Which Antivirus Should I Choose?
Some good antivirus programs to help you stay safe on the internet are:
Bitdefender – Right now this is the top of the line and can be found at bitdefender.com.
ESET – This is the one I suggest most often for my clients as it is cheaper and works well. You can find it at eset.com.
Webroot – Another program I would recommend to my clients and many people are familiar with it. Their website is webroot.com.
Norton – Another common one, you can get this at Norton.com. They are lower on my list because I find they do miss things occasionally.
McAfee – I only put them on the list because a lot of new computers come with the free trial. The reason they put it on the new computers is because no one else will buy it. This program will really slow down your computer because it’s always running something in the background. I don’t suggest it but, it’s better than nothing.
Avast, AVG and other free ones – These are the most popular free ones. Having any of these is definitely better than nothing, but not by much. Some do have paid versions, but if you’re going to pay anyway, I’d suggest getting something higher up the list.
Most antivirus programs will run you about $40-$100/yr. Some of them will have multiple computer deals to decrease the cost, so figure out how many computers you need to cover and look for the best deal.
Everyone has passwords they need to remember for those sites that they only use once in a while. What you need is a safe way of storing those passwords.
First, ask yourself if you are more comfortable with a paper system or an electronic one.
For people that are more comfortable with a paper copy, I have seen them use either a notebook or an address book. An address book is a good option since you can put each one under the letter and make it easier to find.
I have no issues with having a paper copy as long as you put it where other people cannot find it easily. 90% of people who are hacked are by someone they know because they can either get to or guess your passwords. So keep those passwords where only you can get to them.
If you prefer the electronic side, you can use an excel sheet or word document or an online password manager.
If you are going to use an excel or word document, DO NOT name the file “passwords.” Give it a name that you will know but will be harder for others to know it is a password file.
There are multiple online password managers to look at, find the one that works for you. Some of the ones I have found are LastPass, Roboform, and Dashlane.
Some antivirus programs have them built in as well like Norton and ESET. Once you choose one stick to it and learn it so it becomes easier for you.
Don’t Trust Your Computer
Ever see any of these kinds of things pop up on your computer? They can look scary and even sound like they really have taken over your computer.
The problem is that all of these are just pop up ads. They just want you to call the phone number and talk to them. Once they can talk to you then they can scare you into giving them money to “fix” your computer. There is nothing wrong with your computer and these are just scams.
What do you do?
First off, remember, if the computer gives you a phone number to call DO NOT CALL IT! None of the providers of your software are going to care if you have a virus.
Microsoft, Norton, AOL, McAfee, ESET or whichever company they have pop up on these do not care if you have a problem. Yes, they have the products that are protecting you but they do not monitor your computer remotely. The software does all the work on your computer.
If you have a good antivirus program then the program will keep you safe on the internet. If you do have a problem they want you to call them, but you have to go to their site to find the number.
Secondly, this is just a pop-up. Try to X out of the program first. If that doesn’t work then go with Ctl+Alt+Del and end the program (most likely the internet browser you are using).
Last of all, if neither of those options work then just shut down the computer with the power button. Press and hold the power button on the computer for 20 seconds. Keep holding it even after the screen goes black, hold it for the full 20-30 sec to make sure it shuts down.
Then turn it back on. The pop us should be gone. Sometimes it is still there so just restart the computer another time or 2 then it will disappear.
These are very simple things to do to keep your computer and information safe.
If you are still having issues check out our How to Speed Up Your Computer article to speed up your machine or you can just give me call 720.281.4990 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can take a look and get your computer back up and running for you so you can stay safe while on the internet.