Home Internet 101 How do I protect my security on the web?

How do I protect my security on the web?

Modern web browsers have been designed with security in mind, and provide you some protection from threats like malware. However a few extra layers of protection are always a good idea, not the least of which is a good virus checker program.


A virus checker regularly scans your entire computer and looks for files or programs that may be malicious. When it find one, it either deletes it or 'quarantines' it if it is also part of an important program and needs to be fixed separately. A virus check that we recommend is AVG Free, which is afree virus checker software that you can download here. Virus checkers connect to their home server every day to get updates on new kinds of viruses so you're constantly updated.

Another important program to have is a Firewall. A firewall monitors all the traffic that is going to and from your computer via your internet connection. Think of a firewall as a gatekeeper to your computer – it only lets certain things in or out. This can stop unauthorized systems accessing your computer as well as malicious programs on your computer accessing the internet at downloading more malicious programs. Windows comes with a built in firewall which should be enough for most people, however if you are having problems with Windows Firewall, a good alternative is Zone Alarm which can be downloaded for free here.

Finally you may want to install some specialist anti-adware software. This looks for the stuff that your virus checker can sometimes miss, in particular adware or spyware that makes your computer vulnerable. The most popular anti-adware and spyware program is Adaware which is also free and available here.

Note: While anti-adware, antivirus and firewalls are great for protecting your security, it's important to understand that their job is to be a bit too strict. Sometimes even nice sites get blocked. If you know that a site is actually safe but your security software is preventing you from using it, most software allows you to add an exception to the site to allow you to use it.

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