Using the internet and general web browsing is what most people are doing on a regular basis now. The number of internet users have increased largely over the years. With the increased in popularity of the internet, there is also the increase in threats from using the internet. We’re talking about phishing emails that try to steal your login or bank details, viruses/trojans and spyware from websites or downloaded content that cause havoc on your computer and steal your information.
So, here are some things you can do to protect yourself against viruses and spyware while using the internet:
- Make sure your computer has the latest Windows Updates. Some viruses, trojans, spyware/malware are written specifically to attack vulnerabilities in your internet browser or Operating System. Making your computer is up to date with the latest security patches and updates ensures that you don’t full victim to these infections.
- Anti-virus Software. Get a good antivirus software. There are lots available and they all much in much in terms of features. However, some are free while some are charged and some I found are better at detecting viruses than others. I would recommend Microsoft Security Essentials which is free from Microsoft. It’s lightweight, doesn’t hog system resources, updates as part of Windows Updates and has a very good detection rate
- The WOT Addon shows you website reputation ratings and provides warning of potentially dangerous websites. This is great for when you’re internet searching and gives you an early indication whether a website is dangerous or not before you actually click to the website. This is very helpful at detecting phishing websites which are clones of real legit websites created purely to steal your personal login information. So whether you’re simply web browsing websites like O2 or using internet banking, you want to make sure that the site is not a dangerous website
- Choosing your Internet Browser. Internet Explorer is installed by default as part of Windows. While it is easy to just use what is already installed, the danger about Internet Explorer (IE) is that it uses ActiveX. A lot of viruses, spyware and malware take advantage of ActiveX as well as vulnerabilities and exploits in Internet Explorer to install itself onto unsuspecting computers. Internet Explorer is still the most popular web browser around (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_web_browsers). One option is to consider an alternative internet browsers such as Firefox or Chrome instead. The reason is that some of the exploits or scripts are written for ActiveX or Internet Explorer instead and so won’t work on Firefox or Chrome. Also with Chrome and Firefox, you can get Adblock Plus which is good at blocking ads and filtering out malware. Unfortunately there isn’t an Adblock Plus addon for Internet Explorer. The consequence of using another browser other than Internet Explorer is that some sites may not load properly as they require ActiveX to function properly. In cases like this, you could open those sites with IE instead
- Get an Ad Blocker for your Internet Browser. For Firefox and Chrome, I would highly recommend Adblock Plus which is free and blocks ads on websites really well. For Internet Explorer, there are some around but none of the free ones are any good unfortunately.
More suggestions to better protect yourself against viruses and spyware while using the internet will be added shortly.