Safer Surfing

Other than having a working, up to date antivirus program running on your computer, and being sensible about what you seek out on the Internet, consider the following to make you safer.


1 - Windows users might consider using a web browser other than Internet Explorer as your main browser - or at least make sure you have the latest version on Internet Explorer installed - currently IE 8 for Windows XP (you are still using XP??) and IE 11 for Windows 7 and Windows 8. Windows 10 has both IE 11  and the new Edge browser (although IE 11 is not front and center anymore). Open Internet Explorer and click "Help" on the menu bar, then click "About Internet Explorer". If you find you are running IE6, please stop and update this one immediately!

2 - Consider the information in Gizmo's guide to browser "hardening" - making your browser more private and less susceptible to malware attacks.
3 - recent web browsers have a mechanism that tries to "test" sites before it will open it, and warn you if the site shows up on a list of known "bad sites", or if it looks like the site is set up suspiciously. Recent versions of Internet Explorer refer to this as "SmartScreen" technology. Both the "Chrome" and "Firefox" browsers mentioned below also have similar features. Note that this is different from a "content filter" that might block access to an adult site, for example (SmartScreen may block the same site - but for a different reason).

4 - use anti-malware software (also called "anti-spyware") to help catch and remove things your antivirus program may not be looking for. There are plenty of free ones; MalwareBytes Anti-Malware Free and "SuperAntiSpyware", are two that I use or have used. Gizmo's Freeware has a great section on all kinds of free security-related products. Also note #5 below.

5 - The very act of viewing some pages on the Internet *cough* porn sites *cough* can infect your computer without you really having to do anything else - scary, huh? Something to be aware of. Strongly consider using a safety-orientated DNS server on your computer - a free utility to manage your DNS settings for a Windows computer is DNS Angel.

6 - When you search for "free" stuff online, most of the sites will be set up to lure you in to some kind of situation where something unwanted will be installed on your computer. Could be nasty, could just be annoying - but be aware. The site Ninite.com has a selection of freeware and their installer ensures you won't get any unexpected "extras" installed.
 

Updated 5/16