The 10 Easiest Steps You'll Ever Find To Boost Online Security

by: James Chao

Online security isn’t just about installing anti-virus, spyware and malware programs anymore. Sure, they help greatly in preventing viruses and other forms of malware from infecting your computer but here are 10 simple steps to further reduce the chances of infection.

1. Manage your passwords

Having trouble remembering all the different passwords you used to register on various websites? No worries. A password manager such as Roboform or Keepass enables you to securely manage your passwords. The benefit? You only need to remember one master password to use the program so these programs give you absolutely no excuses to have the same password for every website you register. What makes a good master password? A password which doesn’t resemble an actual word, contains upper case, lower case letters, numbers, symbols and is longer than 8 letters.

2. Check the authenticity of websites before you visit

Search engines such as Google does a great job in blocking sites which are known to be fraudalent. For further protection, install the web of trust plugin (Internet Explorer or Firefox) which will give you a better idea on whether a site is safe or unsafe.

3. Never run a file directly.

When you download a file, it’ll give you options to either run it directly or save in your harddrive space. Always go for the latter! You don’t possibly know what could be in the file so it is much safer to run a virus scan on the file rather than opening it directly.

4. Switch website browsers

If you are still using old Internet browsers such as Internet Explorer 6 then change it immediately! The latest Internet Explorer (IE8) and Firefox 3 gives you much better protection and security.Once installed, change the privacy and security settings to medium or higher.

5. Don’t click links in mail

Avoid this as much as possible. Only click links if you are 100% sure that it is legitimate and comes from a legitimate organization or person. Always look for signs of fraudent sites such as typos.

6. Switch to plain html mail

Switch to HTML mode can easily hide most of the phishing attempts made by fraudsters. All email services should haev a settings page which allows you to change it.

7. Do not use p2p software

Downloading and sharing files through P2P networks is extremely risky. P2P networks are one of the common ways in which virus spreads from computer to computer so avoid that risk!

8. Create a virtual sandbox

A virtual sandbox enables you to run any program in an isolated and protected space on your hard drive. Any actions or changes you make are discarded once the sandbox is closed. An example of a virtual sandbox would be Sandboxie.

9. Monitor your emails

Most anti-spam monitors only process emails that have already been downloaded from the mail server. Use PopTray to check and preview emails while it’s still on the mail server.

10. Use more than one anti-virus tool

There is not one anti-virus tool out there which is able to detect all the viruses in the universe. Read reviews of different antivirus software programs and have more than one installed so that you have a better chance of catching any form of virus. Note that some programs clash with one another so make sure to read carefully before you buy any security products.