Staying safe online…

In a September 2006 edition of Consumer Reports, they highlighted the safety of those on the Internet along with a rating of the Best Tools to Stop Virsus, Spam, & Spyware. In case you haven’t learned yet, there are seven (7) steps for you to take to ensure your security, according to Consumer Reports:

  1. Enable existing protection. Be sure you’re fully utilizing the protection available from your operating system and Internet provider…consider other free protection — Microsoft Office 2003 and Apple Mail include spam blockers, as do most large ISPs such as MSN and Earthlink.
  2. Use Antivirus software.

  3. Use Two Antispyware programs. If your computer takes more and more time to start up, generally runs slowly, or you’re experiencing unexplained pop-ups, there’s a good chance you’ve got a spyware infection. Consumer Reports recommends that you install and run antispyware software even if your computer is running fine.
  4. Add extra spam protection as needed.

  5. If simplicity is paramount, consider a suite. While one-stop shopping for online protection has appeal, most of the 10 suites of protection software that were tested weren’t effective against all threats. But according to testing done by Consumer Reports, a suite by Zone Labs and one from Trend Micro provided very good protection against viruses and spam.
  6. Activate all software for automatic updating.
  7. Be smart online. Download only from trusted sources. Be wary of ad-sponsored or “free” screen savers, games, utilities, videos, toolbars, and music or movie file-sharing programs. Those frequently include spyware that may slow down your PC. Shut off the computer or disconnect the modem when you don’t need to use it for an extended period. Use e-mail cautiously. Never open an attachment that you weren’t expecting, even from sonoe you know. Never respond to e-mail request for personal information. Don’t reply to spam or click on its “unsubscribe” link; that tells spammers that your e-mail address is valid.

For a complete report from Consumer Report, go to this website.