Basic Computer Sense – Internet Safety
 
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If you are like millions of people all over the world, you have a computer and you go on the Internet with it. There are still some people who do not even have their systems connected to a phone line, DSL, cable or any other means to connect to the Internet, but most do. It really doesn’t matter how you are connected as long as it is done safely.
Your life can take on many advantages by being connected, as you can do many tasks and as long as you do it securely, you will never have to worry about your security in the first place. There are a few very important things you need to remember when using your computer online. You should use these on any computer that you use at home or anywhere else.

• Never give out any of your personal information like your name, home address, school name (or address), telephone number in any bulletin boards, forums, or chat rooms.

• Never send a picture of you to anyone you chat with, but do not know.

• Never respond to anyone who made you feel scared or uncomfortable. Stop all future communication with them.

• Never meet a person or have them come to your house unless you know who they are for sure in advance.

• Never download or open any files that you are not sure what they are. It is always better to delete them before ever opening them.

• Never disable any of the security features your computer may have.

• Report any suspicious people to the authorities that you feel uncomfortable dealing with.

• Always keep your passwords secret from everyone. There never is a good time to share this information with anyone.

• Always delete any mail that is received with an attachment before opening it. You never know what the attachment might be. Only open attachments from people you know, when you know they are coming.

• Always remember that everything you write on the Internet is not private and this includes your email. Be very smart and think twice about what you type, where you put it, and who has access to it.

• Always check a web pages privacy policy before giving any of your personal information to be sure it would not be shared with others.

• Always make sure you have a secure connection to the web page before you relay any credit card or banking information.

• Make sure your system is equipped with a firewall.

• If you are on a network, use a router for additional protection.

• Install an anti virus program on your system and be sure to update it on a regular basis. Set it up to do automatic updates if possible. Have this program do full scans of your system on a regular basis. If you can have them done automatically, you should set it up this way.

• Install an anti spyware application on your computer. Have this program update and scan as the anti virus one does.

• Install parental monitoring software if you have young kids or teenagers in the house to keep your children safe while online.

• If you have children using your system always be aware of what they are doing on it

• Install a spam blocker on your email account to stop unwanted problems from occurring from spam.

• Install a pop up blocker on your Internet browser to stop them from bothering you.

Most of these are basic computer sense, but you would be surprised how many people do not even do the simplest precautions. These are the people who will run into problems or security threats that could have easily been prevented by following a few common rules. It is always better to be safe, than sorry!
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