How Do I Secure My Linksys Router

Top Ten Ways To Stay Virus and Spyware Free

Several friends and my wife have become victim to Internet hackers, viruses and spyware recently. While there is no 100% guarantee against becoming a victim yourself, I have some proven methods to make you virtually immune to these kinds of things. I am no expert, but since I have incorporated these steps I have enjoyed hassle-free Internet browsing. Here are 10 basic steps everyone needs to follow and they are all free. You should never have to pay to be safe.

#1 – Stop using Internet Explorer immediately. Regardless of what Microsoft claims, Internet Explorer is the worst browser ever created and you need to avoid it like the plague. I highly recommend using Mozilla Firefox as your sole browser. It is free and very secure. Make sure you download the No Script and Ad Block Plus plug-ins and you are all set. These automatically update to keep you protected against new threats. This browser with these plug-ins block scripts from running on pages you open. You can allow scripts to run on trusted pages and also allow specific scripts on specific sites to run. Also, use the Pop-up Blocker feature at all times. Never surf the net without this!

#2 – Use your firewall at all times. Not using a firewall is like leaving the keys in your car with the doors unlocked and a note on the windshield that says, "Please steal me!" Don't pay for a firewall. You will be throwing your money away if you do. If you don't like the standard windows firewall, Zone Alarm has a great free firewall that gives you a lot of flexibility.

#3 – Stop paying for Anti-virus software now! MacAfee and Norton are huge rip-offs and are not effective. I actually believe they leave you vulnerable on purpose to keep you dependent upon them. Delete these from your computer and download AVG Anti-virus Free. It is free, updates automatically, and I have never had a virus since I installed this free, yes free, software. Setup weekly automatic scans. AVG not only protects against viruses, it also detects and removes spyware that bogs down your computer. It actively monitors your computer, scans your emails and will automatically remove anything that shouldn't be there.

#4 – Install CCleaner and use it regularly. It is free and safely erases temporary Internet files, cookies, Internet history, etc that just take up memory and slow your computer down. There are also some handy tools in CCleaner that allow you to clean your registry and remove unwanted programs from your start up menu. This program will keep your computer running fast and smooth.

#5 – Change your email, Facebook, and Twitter passwords once a month. If the site allows it, use a 10-character password that contains at least one capital letter, a number and a symbol. Once you change your password it is important that you log out of the site and then log in again. This will bump anyone off of your account that may be logged in without your permission.

#6 – Disable file sharing and remote access on your computer. You really don't need these unless you work for a company that requires you to share information with other employees.

#7 – If you have a wireless network, whether at home or at work, you absolutely must secure it. This is a little more technical and you have to know how to access your router, but it is an absolute must. Set up your network to require a password to connect using the same guidelines in #5. You can also change your settings to not broadcast your network so only people you authorize can see it. If you have an unsecured wireless network anyone within range of your connection can go on the Internet and engage in questionable and even illegal activity using your account. I know a man who had the cops show up at his door to investigate him for child porn. Fortunately they were able to prove that someone else was accessing his network.

#8 – Never open any email attachment if you didn't ask for it. This is the #1 way viruses are spread. If you do happen to get an email with a virus attached to it AVG will detect it and automatically delete it before you have a chance to open it.

#9 – Never click any link on Facebook, Twitter, a website, etc. Unless you are absolutely sure you know what it is or where it came from. This is how you get hijacked. I made the mistake yesterday of opening a link on Facebook from someone who got hacked, but thankfully Firefox blocked the malicious script from opening. Also, if a web page pops up warning you that your computer is infected with spyware or a virus do not open it, even if it looks like a legitimate message. Don't close this window by clicking the X in the upper right corner either. Instead, close your browser to exit safely. If you think you may have a virus, open your anti-virus software and run a scan. NEVER run a scan via a website, ever.

#10 – Stay away from questionable websites. If you wouldn't view that site in front of your spouse, you shouldn't be there in the first place.

Again, there is no 100% guarantee that you won't ever get infected, but if you follow these 10 Safe Internet Habits you will be very safe. It shouldn't cost you a dime to safely browse the Internet. The only thing you should have to pay for is your Internet provider and nothing else. If you have to pay, be suspicious. If you do get infected, get some help. It can be very difficult to completely remove a virus, trojan or browser hijack from your computer and it can take a good hour or two, even when you know what you are doing.

David Good

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