Being safe online

Not sure what to believe when it comes to online safety? There are so many rumours concerning internet viruses, banking scams and dangerous emails that it can usually seem easier just to stop listening and trust completely in your anti-virus software to provide you with online safety. Unfortunately, it takes a bit more vigilance to keep your computer protected from these dangerous invaders.

Won’t my anti-virus software keep my computer safe?
A basic misunderstanding of computer viruses and other online safety threats means that, too often, computer users target only on type of threat without realising they are still prone to other kinds of malevolency online. Threats like spyware and hackers won’t be stopped by anti-virus software.

What about my backup?
Realistically, a computer backup won’t provide any online safety on its own; the point of creating a computer backup is to secure your current information for retrieval in case of any primary viral issues. Of course, there is no sure way for you to know whether you are actually copying a viral program onto your backup until it is too late, and regardless your computer will still have succumbed to infection.

What if I don’t open any unknown emails?
Viruses aren’t only sent via email – the truth is you might accidentally be putting your online safety at risk just by surfing the internet or sharing disks and other memory cards with other computer users. Computer viruses can seem to spread just like the flu: anything that has come into contact with an infected computer system SHOULD NOT come anywhere near yours! You never know what is carrying a virus. You may also be at risk simply by connecting to the internet, as viral software may be uploaded into your computer via the internet cable, completely bypassing an open internet browser, let alone an email program or specific email message.

I am protected from any online safety threats by my ISP!
Nope. While some internet service providers do offer firewall protection for your internet connection, this does not protect you from fraudulent emails and also should not be expected to properly identify new types of viruses or other threats. The best thing you can do to ensure your online safety is to keep up-to-date with new virus software, perform regular scans and get informed about spyware and other non-viral threats.
You need to be very vigilant and aware of any risks you may be exposing your computer to so the system is properly protected. Up-to-date anti-virus software is definitely important to maintain the health of your computer, however you yourself can be the most important anti-viral protection for your computer.