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Cyber Safe: Protecting Your Family Computer From Internet Infidels

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

One of the biggest violations of privacy occurs right in the “safety” of your own home. In fact your home is constantly being invaded by spies, cyber spies that is. They target your children, adolescents and teens.

Spyware publishers make money by making your home PC a veritable “virtual” personalized billboard. And, if all this seems “harmless”, the damage it can do to your computer is quite to the contrary quite harmful. As spyware companies sneak software onto your home PC, they sit back and take note or your reactions and responses, then they deliver ads in the form of pop-ups based on what they’ve discerned your interests to be and what sort of thing you’d want to see and hear about.

Additionally, according to experts, spyware publishers attempt to increase their number of “viewers” by monitoring the habits of kids and making them the primary targets. For instance, spyware companies will frequently install their software via “free” utilities such as games, screen savers, etc. They also use to their advantage two of the most popular teenage software applications: peer-to-peer file sharing applications and instant messenger software.

Once they’ve effectively invaded your terminal, you most probably will immediately begin to notice changes. And, these changes can range from subtle to severe. They include: a plethora of pop-up ads, a new toolbar that suddenly appears in your browser, a change in your default home page, or a slowdown in the overall performance of your PC. Still, you may believe you’ve taken every protective precaution, but here’s some additional steps you can take to protect your PC.

1. Put up a wall, a firewall that is: Firewalls are software that can control both incoming and outgoing traffic to your computer.

2. Install and run a plan of “attack”: Anti-spyware software is one of your best defenses. These software programs remove and block sundry types of spyware.

3. Preventative “Medicine”: Implement anti-virus software. These protective programs can identify, remove, and block some of the more dangerous types of spyware.

4. Security guard: Automatically download security updates. These programs are offered as part of most software programs and can be setup to automatically download and install the most recent and current security patches.

5. Start over: Reset your browser’s security settings. One of the most common occurrences with spyware is its ability to tamper and alter the security settings on your Web browser, making your system more vulnerable to this and other spyware threats. Consider regularly doing a basic check of your browser security for added updates and protection.

6. Chat with your children: Remember, knowledge is power! Teach your kids about the risks and ramifications of downloading and installing software from the Web and unfamiliar companies. Also, encourage them to inquire and get assistance with downloading information that may seem interesting to them, and even encourage them to ask for permission before doing so.

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Cyber Safe: Protecting Your Family Computer From Internet Infidels

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