Tips to Keep You Safe on the Internet
Last Updated: Fri, 22 Apr 2011 > Related Articles
Provides helpful tips for keeping you safe while on the Internet.
The Internet is a great tool for finding out information. If you are doing research for a school project or comparing hairdryers, the Internet can provide you with a wealth of information. Yet people supply a myriad of information about themselves without even knowing it. Below you will find some helpful tips to keep you, your office, and even your family’s computer safe from intruders.
Note: To configure any of these services, consult your owner’s manual.
|Install a router using NAT (Network Address Translation).|
NAT works by using a single public IP address (the IP address assigned to you by your Internet service provider) and translating that into private IP address (IP’s that are used for private networks and can not be used on the Internet). The device running NAT keeps a table of what computers are hooked up to your network and their private IP address. When one of those computers needs access to the Internet, the router uses this NAT table to grant access to the computer and translates its private IP to the public IP. In short, all the computers that are connected to the router use one single public IP address to connect to the Internet.
Using NAT with your cable modem will stop packets from the Internet coming into your computer unless your computer requested the information. If a hacker is trying to connect to your computer from the Internet, the connection will be denied since your computer did not request the connection. This can stop a ‘weekend’ hacker from intruding your network and/or computer.
|Use a firewall.|
A firewall is a piece of software or hardware that monitors all incoming network traffic and allows traffic that you have approved of in advance, in or out of your network or computer. You can also block any or all traffic to a specific computer. A firewall can also help make your computer invisible on the Internet, making it much more difficult for a hacker to attack you.
A firewall can give you total control over what data is allowed into your computer and also what data is allowed out. If a hacker is trying to get into your computer, a firewall can stop them cold! For best defense, use a hardware firewall at the connection point of your Internet service and use a software firewall on all your desktops.
If a worm does get past your hardware firewall by disguising itself as an email attachment, then your software firewall may be able to stop it.
|Disable unnecessary services.||Some operating systems will install a web server, mail server or FTP (file transfer protocol) server without your knowledge. If these services are not disabled, they can present an ‘open door’ for a hacker to gain access to your data. In most operating systems, you can turn unwanted services off in the control panel or consult your owner’s manual for further instructions.|
|Update your software.||Software manufactures are always updating their products to add new security features. Check with your software manufacture at least once a month for product updates.|
|If you run Microsoft Windows, turn on ‘automatic updates’.||To ensure you have the latest patches for the Windows Operating system, turn on ‘automatic updates’ in the control panel. This will force your computer to check for new security patches at regular intervals or you can customize it to update your computer when you are not using it.|
|Update your virus definitions and run a full system scan at least twice a month.||Check with your anti-virus manufacture at least once a week for updated virus definitions. New viruses and worms come out all the time. It is not enough just to keep your anti-virus running, you must have current definitions to catch the latest threats. Some anti-virus software can be updated automatically for you. Check with you anti-virus maker to see if they support automatic updates.|
|Check with your anti-virus manufacture at least once a week for updated virus definitions. New viruses and worms come out all the time. It is not enough just to keep your anti-virus running, you must have current definitions to catch the latest threats. Some anti-virus software can be updated automatically for you. Check with you anti-virus maker to see if they support automatic updates.||Experts estimate that over 70% of the software downloaded through file sharing programs are infected with a Trojan or virus. In fact many Trojans such as Backdoor.Optix, spread themselves through P2P networks. The only way to guarantee that these Trojans and viruses do not infect you, is to not use any file sharing software. If you do decided to download something via a file sharing network, you should always run you anti-virus software and scan the program before you run it.|
|Disable auto saving of attachments.||Outlook and its lite version, Outlook express, can automatically download and run attachments. Many attachments contain viruses or Trojans and when activated can install a backdoor on your computer for a hacker to connect to.|
|Never open email attachments.||Many attachments contain viruses, Trojans or worms. Once a person opens an infected attachment, the virus or worm will try and infect other machines on the local network or across the Internet. Most of these worms spread by themselves, using your address book and placing your email address in the 'from' section. Using this technique will make the email look like it’s from you, your friends or family when in fact it is a worm trying to infect more machines. Do not open any attachments unless you are expecting. If you are unsure about an attachment from a friend, do not open it and call them to verify.|
|Software companies do not send you updates via email.||No software companies send you updates via email. If you receive a ‘patch’ or update from any software company, do not open it. Check with the company’s web site for updates to your software.|
|Disable HTML and Java.||HTML and Java can contain malicious code that is run once you open the email. You may disable these features in email to ensure that your system will not execute a bad or malicious code.|