Avira’s Top Ten Internet Safety Tips

Here are 10 tips from Avira how to do this:

Get an Antivirus program – and fully activate it.

A good anti-virus program on your computer is essential to detect, prevent, and clean up any malware issues. A good AV these days should have some substantial “cloud” component to it for two primary reasons. 1) It greatly speeds up the time it takes to give users the latest information and detections on new threats. 2) A cloud-based detection lets users get down to business with their PC and lets the AV do the nasty computing work elsewhere.

A good antivirus program – regardless of price or vendor – has had its effectiveness tested by an independent testing lab such as AV-Test, AV-Comparatives, or Virus Bulletin’s VB100 certification (www.virusbtn.com/vb100)

Regardless of the AV, it is essential for it to be installed and have its various components activated. And if this is not happening, you may have a security issue.

Update everything – and those cracked apps are a problem.

Your device has programs that will need to be updated at various times. Cybercriminals look for loopholes and zero-day threats and exploit them.  Do you have the latest product versions? While checking this can be tedious, this is especially important with Adobe products and Java plugins. By the way, cracked and illegal software often has deactivated update features – another security risk to think about.

Perform regular scans – and finish them.

Often AV’s (like Avira) have weekly scheduled scans. But, you should also perform scans of your computer. Important note: Don’t abort the scan when it seems to be taking too long or the scan will be triggered while you are downloading an application from the internet. There is often a reason why the scan was triggered and you should make sure that the scan is finished.

Don’t work as the Administratoreven if you are.

Even if you are the only person using the computer – don’t use your computer as the administrator account. Set up a separate account for Administrator tasks and please use something different than ‘Admin” as the account password. This puts an extra check in the download process and slows down malware’s access to your machine.

Get an Ad blockerjust for security reasons.

Having an ad blocker will help reduce your exposure to malware and phishing attacks. This is a security advisory based on the insecure networks for selling and serving online ads – not a comment on the artistic and financial value of the ads themselves. Ad blockers are controversial and publishers hate them – with reason – because they undermine the business models, but we recommend an ad blocker.

Don’t expose yourself in public – even when on vacation.

Open WiFi is a great thing. But, in most circumstances, it is just that – open. Your communication, data, and activities are an open book to about everyone. And remember, a registration/password for a WiFi site does not make it inherently more secure. Go ahead and close this book by using a browser with HTTPS Everywhere (like the new Avira Scout) which forces sites to communicate in the encrypted mode when possible and/or use a VPN.

Passwords should be tough – and memorable.

If you aren’t using a password manager, make up passwords that abbreviate favorite songs or your own obscure phrases. Shakespeare’s Shylock character could have 1#ofFlesh@noblud!. Seriously, don’t use 123456 as a password. Use different passwords for different apps. The risk of being completely hacked often comes from users having one password for everything.

Get rid of it – in a flash.

Your computer has applications that are either not needed or that are considered a security risk. Two of the major security issues are Java and Flash. You can remove them totally or disable them.

Find out who is tracking you – for better or for worse.

Tracking where you go and what you do online is a big business. Even if you are doing nothing bad or nasty, are you sure that you want people to be tracking this – and selling it to others? While the exact tracking technology changes – cookies, supercookies, canvasing – the principle remains the same. Take a look at the options for stopping it. Your options include Privacy Badger from EFF, the Avira Browser Safety plugin, and Ghostery.

YOU – and your friends – are the biggest security risk.

Most “successful” malware on the market today is spread by persuading users to click on phishing links and spamming emails. Be suspicious about emails (e.g. invoices from unknown sources), especially the attachments.  Even with emails from friends, sometimes it’s better to ask them personally “why did you have send me that email?” instead of opening the attachment directly.

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