Thursday, March 8, 2012

Safer Computers = Safer Surfing

Notes taken by: Theresa Payton, Fortalice, LLC. Material also featured on WBTV's segment Protecting Your Cyberturf featuring Kristen Miranda and Theresa Payton.
Most of you enjoy surfing the net and get a lot of useful information from it.  But from time to time it’s hard to ignore that nagging feeling, “Am I doing everything I need to do in order to stay safe?”  You may even consider using security software to protect your computer and devices.  But there are probably just as many choices of security software now as choices of toothpaste at the grocery store.  These are tough questions to answer.  What should I use?  Should I use it all the time?  Is this really working?  Does it catch everything or just a few things?  The good news is, you have options and we’ve asked cyber expert, Theresa Payton, to help us sort through all the great products out there.

1.  Free:  there are some great free tools out there that you can try.  Some of our favorites include:

2.  Web browsers:  don’t forget that your web browsers can help protect you too!  

3.  Security software that you install on your computer or device:  they will not catch everything but they add another layer of defense.

The good news is, today's internet browsers can help you fight back the bad guys from infecting your computer.  Remember, no internet security solution is 100% secure.  You still need to be aware and alert when you click on links or give out information.

Gogobot:  If your Facebook friends and you are thinking about traveling, this might be a great resource for you.  It’s a a travel planning site that pulls recommendations from the people you connect to on your social network.  It’s being called the “pinterest” of vacation travel.  You can create wish lists, read friends’ reviews and plan your trip based on their recommendations.

Your favorite web browser may be able to help you achieve safer surfing.  

1.  Settings:  While instructions and features vary, go to your browser's security and privacy settings and tweak those to insure your privacy and safety.
2.  Stay up to date:  Make sure you download software updates for your browser.  When in doubt, download a new version from the company's legitimate web site to make sure you have the latest.
3.  Safe Sites:  Some browsers let you set up the browser so it alerts you when you are visiting a site that is known for suspicious traffic.  McAfee has a tool that you can add into your browser called the "SiteAdvisor" to help you as you surf the net.  You can find the tool at:

1.  Is it easy to use and install?  Look for customer reviews.
2.  Features included.  Does it include antivirus, antimalware, and antispyware?
3.  Never purchase a tool from a pop up ad, these are usually bogus packages

There are many free tools out there that do a great job.  Two examples of those tools include:
1.  Microsoft has a free scanner and removal tool at:

2.  Sophos also offers free tools at:

You can also purchase tools.  Some examples of software that you can purchase from vendors are McAfee, Norton, Panda and F-Secure.  PC Magazine did a review of 2012 tools that you can read at:,2817,2372364,00.asp

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