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Protect your computer

Protecting your computer from malware is simple, just follow the tips below.

Install anti-virus software

Viruses are malicious programs that can spread from one computer to another by email or through websites. They can display unwanted pop-up messages, slow your computer down and even delete files. Remember to check which type of software you need, as it may vary depending on whether your computer uses Windows software or is an Apple computer. Anti-virus software helps to find, stop and remove these malicious viruses.

Install anti-spyware software

Spyware is an unwanted program that runs on your computer. It allows unwanted adverts to pop up, tracks your online activities and can even scan your computer for private data such as credit card numbers. It can make your computer slow and unreliable and make you a target for online criminals. Installing anti-spyware software helps to protect your computer from these threats.

Internet security

It may seem like you need a lot of software to protect yourself from online risks, but it’s actually very easy. You can buy a complete package that includes everything you need, or get effective free software such as AVG (http://free.avg.com) or Avast (www.avast.com/free antivirusdownload). These work on both Windows computers and Apple computers. For computers that use Windows 7 or above, there is built-in anti-spyware software called Windows Defender.

Once your software is installed, keep it up to date when prompted. Online threats evolve constantly so this ensures that you have the highest level of protection.

Turn on your firewall

A firewall is a protective barrier between your computer and the internet. It will stop some viruses getting through and will prevent anyone connecting to your computer without your permission. Most computers come with a firewall which is usually switched on automatically, but check to make sure that it is running.

Keep your operating system updated

The operating system is the main software program on your computer which manages all the other programs on it. Whichever operating system you have, keep it updated as this will give you stronger protection. You should receive notifications when new updates are available, but you can also update your software manually. If you use Windows, go to the Windows Update site at http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com. There are instructions on the site that will enable your computer to automatically download and install updates as they become available. These are free.

Protect your wireless network

If you use wireless internet at home, you will have a wireless router. You need to protect your wireless network so that people living nearby can’t access it. Read the instructions that come with your router to find out how to set up a ‘key’ – a type of password – so that no one else can access the internet through your router.

You can find step-by-step explanations and advice on all of the above at http://www.getsafeonline.org

Once your software is installed, keep it up to date when prompted.

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