- Comparing Internet Security Software
- Internet Browsers
- Pop-ups and Advertisements
- Downloading or Streaming Media
The Internet can on large be risk free when browsing day-to-day but it can harbor risks to both your computer system and your personal information. The guide below will hopefully provide some simple steps to maintain a worry-free Internet experience.
There are many different types of security software programs designed specifically at securing your information and system while online. There are also many companies who create these programs and this can sometimes be both confusing and daunting for many people when selecting the right software.
The below links will hopefully help in selecting the right package for you:
See Virus Bulletin site (non-Dell site link here and below):
- Independent comparative testing of Anti-Malware products.
- On the same site see results for their Anti-Spam comparative results.
Check software reviews:
- Check what other people think of the software they are using or have tested.
- Sites like download.cnet.com and Amazon offer user reviews of products downloads / purchased.
- Many popular computer and technology sites often run reviews and buying guides on anti-virus software. (example: Which?, PCMAG, PCAdvisor ...)
(Any links in this article are merely examples of sites available to you, there may be many other options other than the sites listed that can provide you with the same information in your language)
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Similar to the security software available there are also many variations of Internet browsers available to you. Internet browsers are free to use so it is easy to install an alternative and test to see if the layout and performance matches your requirements. Below are some steps that may be helpful in creating a secure browsing environment.
- Keep your browser up-to-date: Latest versions of browsers correct vulnerabilities older versions may have had.
- Adjust browsers security settings: check the user guide information available for your browser via their help section.
- Add-ons & Apps: Many new browsers have the option of applying add-ons or apps to add extra functions and tasks. This includes security add-ons, searching online you can find guides and recommendations.
- Caution when providing personal information: This includes such info as credit card or banking details etc. you can identify encrypted secure sites many ways including the URL itself "https" where-by the 's' at the end of the http advises that the site is 'secure' and employing SSL encryption.
Many browsers also display icons or status within the browsers toolbars and borders as to the security level of the site.
For example Internet Explorer will display a padlock icon in the status bar to indicate the secure status.
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Avoid clicking on pop-ups whenever possible - even clicking the red 'x' or any buttons within the pop-up that masquerades as a close button.
A handy key-press is to use the Ctrl + F4 to close the currently selected window without having to click anywhere near the pop-up. (just be aware this command will close the currently selected program window and you will lose any unsaved information within)
Alternatively try to close the Pop-up by right clicking on the item in the system tray or from task manager.
Task Manager Guide (Windows 8)
Task Manager Guide (Windows 7)
From task manager you can then terminate any Internet Explorer instances or windows from whatever browser you are using at the time.
The method above using task manager on most occasions can be successful but also bear in mind that you will lose whatever you were working on in the browser before the pop-ups appeared. Also if your browser asks to restore the previous session you may load the same screens as before including the pop-ups.
- Most new Internet browsers have built in pop-up blockers, alternatively you can also install pop-up blocker software or add-ons for your system or browser.
- Make sure your Pop-up blocker is enabled within your selected browser -see useful guide Here
For many Pop-up blockers you have the option to override it by holding down a key while clicking on a link for example 'Ctrl' key for Internet Explorer.
- Some pop-ups may appear off the screen or with a large part of the pop-up window out of view. In these instances check the task bar for signs of additional browser windows displayed. If you see one that you do not recognize right click and close.
- Also for pop-ups where-by most of the window is outside the desktop screen try dragging the window into view and closing it, but be careful not to click the pop-up advert itself.
Fake Anti-virus adverts and pop-ups:
- Many malicious software attacks will work on deception, a common threat is pretending to be a virus removal tool and advising you of infections. (on some cases asking for a fee to remove these threats - see example image below)
Fake anti-virus examples:
Personal Security, Cyber Security, Braviax, Alpha Antivirus, GreenAV, Windows Protection Suite, Total Security 2009, Windows System Suite, Personal Antivirus, Anti-Virus-1, Spyware Guard 2008, System Guard 2009, Antivirus 2009, System Security, Antivirus 2010, Antivirus Pro 2009, Antivirus 360, MS Antispyware 2009, Malware Doctor, AntivirusBEST, System Security 2009, Antivirus System Pro, WinPC Defender, Navashield, Thinkpoint...and others
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- Only download software from sites and applications you trust.
- If downloading from links on e-mails or instant messages be very cautious. If in doubt visit the company's official site directly to start the download.
- Choose Wisely: Be wary also of download advertisements on genuine download pages. Take your time and check the download link you are clicking is the correct one.
- Toolbars: Some downloads will incorporate toolbars as part of the main download. These will attach themselves to your browser and can slow performance and in some cases be infected with malware and advertising software. (stealing information)
- Lots of free software will include these toolbars (instead of adverts)
- Usually the toolbar will be installed as default but give a tickbox to opt-out make sure this is 'unchecked' if you do not want to install the toolbar or other software.
- Some software may not give the opt-out option mentioned above. Check if this is the case before fully downloading the software.
- Changing your Homepage: some downloads may show a pop-up to change your homepage to their companies page. Be ware of this as it is often present especially with free or trial downloads.
- Online Download & URL Analyse: Free independent service is available online that will scan your download and have it checked by multiple scanning tools using up-to-date definition databases.
See Virus Total (max file size 64mb)
- Some streaming sites may ask you to download 'special' media players or codec's to watch the content. On occasions these downloads may contain malware viruses.
- If you are streaming media from sites try and use media players that you know or already have installed and are trusted for example Adobe Flash player, Quicktime etc.
Example below of streaming download adverts to watch out for.
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