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Internet Safety and Security

A few words need to be stated about YOUR safety and security, when using the Internet.

You have to remember that the Internet is a huge network of computers and databases -- being used by millions of people from around the world at any given time. When using the Internet, you must be careful where you go and what you access. For example, if you were going to the store, you need to take money, a list of items to buy and then you head to the store. On the way to the store, you have to watch where you're walking and safeguard your money. Most of these things we do without even thinking about. However, with the Internet, you must prepare yourself and your computer, so you don't run into trouble. Chances are your Internet usage experience will be a pleasant one. But, why take any chances and risk giving a stranger your personal information (name, address, telephone number), or losing files through viruses and maybe even damaging your computer? Here are a few tips you can use:

Your access to the Internet -- email address and account information.

  1. Never give out your password. If you have a problem with your Internet Service Provider(ISP), contact them by phone. If someone calls or emails you requesting your password -- hang up or delete it! It is not your ISP.
  2. Be careful where you leave your email address and account information. Store them in a safe place. As for online, be careful not to leave your email address to so many places. For example, if you use chatrooms, newsgroups, sign guestbooks, or register with websites, these are all places that people (strangers) can get your email address. This could lead to unwanted junk-email and companies emailing advertisements.
  3. Tell any friends or family members not to give your email address to anyone you do not want to have it.

Using the Internet -- emailing, downloading and transferring files.

  1. When using the Internet make sure you use the latest (and up-to-date) anti-virus software. The two top companies for anti-virus software are: Norton and McAfee. Their latest anti-virus softwares actually alert you when it is time to update your software. Heed the warning and take a few minutes to do it.
  2. Chances are 99.99 percent of the websites you use, will not infect your system with a virus or worm. The problem with a virus/worm is that you can unknowingly download it with a program, transferred files, from a disk, or email. A virus can be attached to the item you are downloading into your computer. The person you received the email from may not even know that a virus was attached. So, be careful where and who you download information from. Be especially cautious, if you download from an unknown source, such as a newsgroup or from a person you just met in a chatroom.
  3. If you have a broadband connection to the internet (DSL, Cable Modem), you need to protect yourself from computer hackers (people looking to get into your computer). Broadband connections are different from dial-up providers (like AOL, MSN) because with broadband you are always connected to the internet - if you are using it or not. In this case, you need to protect your computer and its contents with a firewall. I use a Zone Alarm firewall, which can be downloaded for free online at Zone Labs website. You can check with your computer company to see which firewall they recommend for your computer system.

For more information on how to use the Internet for research, GO TO:
Using the Internet for Research

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