For many of us, Internet safety and security is an issue that we pay scant attention to. And that’s unfortunate, because the web is crawling with scammers, hackers, malware, Trojans, adware, worms, and viruses. Most of the time, these malicious sites can be avoided by installing simple antivirus software. Unfortunately, not all antivirus programs are created equal. Sometimes viruses are created to exploit weaknesses in existing programs, and then inject their venom into your PC and software rendering them inoperable.

  1. Common sense advice goes a long way in guarding against security threats online. The #1 most recommended security protocol is maintaining strong passwords for all sensitive personal information. This includes your social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, as well as email accounts, bank accounts, online shopping accounts, etc. As a rule, it is ill-advised to use the same username/password combination for all of your accounts. It’s just like putting all your eggs into one basket – never do it. 2-factor authentication is best. This is what you see in top-tier online banking sites where telephone messaging is used to validate a user’s account in addition to email verification.
  2. Install the most powerful antivirus software for your needs. The only way to protect against the relentless barrage of assaults on the Internet is antivirus software. The minute you power up your PC, smartphone or tablet, security threats are rampant. They will be exploiting weaknesses in your system through your firewall, Internet connection and programs at every possible opportunity. Effective antivirus software that targets spyware, adware, malware, Trojans, worms, and other harmful code is best. Any changes to your homepage, to your toolbar, or pop-up windows that suddenly appear are indicative of a security breach. There are a myriad of effective anti-spyware and antivirus software programs on the net, and it behooves you to invest in one for the well-being of your system and your data.
  3. Utilize effective browser plug-ins to guard against threats on the Internet. When it comes to plug-ins, the Internet is bubbling over with options. One of the most effective crowdsourced web safety mechanisms is the Web of Trust (WOT). This service has been running for 10 years and it helps you stay on top of your game when it comes to trusting a website or not trusting a website. It collects a wealth of data from a community comprising millions of users. Those users then rate and comment on specific websites based on their browsing experience with them. If a website is deemed unsafe, it will receive a red traffic light warning. If a website is safe, it will receive a green traffic light approval. Whenever you run a search engine like Bing, Google or Yahoo!, The WOT plug-in will then indicate with the red or green traffic lights which websites are safe to browse. It’s highly effective for Opera, Safari, Chrome and Firefox too.


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Blast is Boston's Online Magazine

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