How to ensure Internet security

Advice about Internet passwords, logging out, online transactions, removal of spyware/adware, getting a firewall, antivirus software, and keeping your software up to date

  • Treat your passwords as sacrosanct -- never disclose them to anybody. Do not write them down, and never store them in a file on your computer. Don't allow your Internet browser to remember the passwords for you, and don't use automated form filling or auto-completion in your browser settings.

  • Choose passwords that will be difficult for someone else to guess. Change them regularly.

  • To protect the security of your home network security do 5 things:
    1. Install a hardware firewall/router/gateway - and keep it updated.
    2. Install a software firewall - and keep it updated (eg XP SP2, Zone Alarm )
    3. Install anti-virus protection - keep it updated and upgrade every 2nd year
    4. Remove and replace dangerous Windows components (Outlook/Outlook Express and IE)
    5. Install and regularly run spyware detection/removal tools

  • Regularly check your computer for adware, spyware, trojan horses and malicious cookies, and remove any that you find immediately. Programs of this kind may be installed without your knowledge when you download files, view unsolicited email, visit Web pages that activate a malicious script built into a web page, or by various other means. Spyware can result in identity theft, data corruption, personal profiling and other undesirable breaches of personal or corporate security.

  • Be sure to completely close down your Internet connection when you are not around. Disable file/printer sharing whilst not in use as this may provide an opening for hackers to gain entry to your PC.

  • Check details of your online transactions carefully to ensure the transactions have been completed with the appropriate entities and are for the correct amounts.

  • Always log out when you have finished an online banking or online purchasing session.

  • Do not run unnecessary applications that require an internet/network connection. Leaving them running in the background is like leaving your front door open.

  • Install a firewall or other security software to protect your computer from online threats.
    NB You can test how secure your computer is at this web site. You will receive detailed information and some suggestions about measures to take to increase your security. A number of reputable firewall systems are available online for download at the Tucows site.

  • Keep all software updated and patched -- use the built-in "live update" and "smart update" options for your operating system, email, web browser and anit-virus plud all other mission critical software. Register to receive and install critical updates automatically.

  • Click with caution -- if something is suspicious, don't click on it. Never click on pop-ups pretending to warn about problems or errors or the leatest greatest software you simply must have

  • .Be cautious when opening files from unexpected emails, even from friends. Their PC may have been hijacked to distribute infected files. Be wary of any received files that you execute as they may contain a malicious application. This method of infection is commonly used by hackers.

  • Be careful of free software, it may be bundled with adware/spyware.

  • You can check for adware, spyware and trojans online using Spy Audit, or install reputable software [such as SpyBot Search and Destroy (for spyware and adware), and CWShredder (for trojans)] which you will run often.

  • Install antivirus software (such as that available from Norton or McAfee, or AVG) and keep your virus definition list up to date. Upgrade the software at least every second year.

New Zealand Time @ 03:36 23 Jun 2021
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