There's no doubt that computer security - whether you are talking about banking or shopping - should be uppermost in your mind. The internet is a wonderful tool that makes many every day tasks quicker and easier, but it's also a dangerous place for the unwary or unprepared. Avoiding computer security issues is easy if you stick to the basic rules and use a bit of common sense.
The first and most important rule of computer security is that you don't give out personal information such as your address or phone number, unless you are clear who you are dealing with (e.g. a reputable online retailer). This is particularly true if you "meet" someone online. Be wary of anyone who wants to meet you in person - many people you meet online are very different in person.
Another source of potential computer security problems are viruses and similar nasties. Protecting yourself from these is actually quite easy:
- Always use a good firewall and virus protection programme.
- Never open attachments to e-mails unless you are sure who they are from and that they are safe.
- Use a good anti-spyware programme regularly to catch the spyware and adware that does sneak past your defences.
- Never give your Internet passwords to anyone.
- If you are thinking of downloading or installing software, run it through your security software first to be sure it's clean.
- Finally, if you have children, teach them how to use the internet safely and responsibly. There are several good sites out there dedicated to children's online safety - consult them, then talk to your children and come up with an agreed set of rules that your children will abide by.