How to Stay Safe on the Internet

I wrote this page because I have acquaintances, clients, friends and family who want to know how to get rid of or prevent viruses and malicious software from getting on their computer. Following is a list of software that I have used on my computer, and with which I am quite pleased. I have not had a virus on my computer in over 10 years.

Update! – I am now on the Committee to Safeguard Children through my church, Holy Family, and we recently had a presentation about keeping your child safe on the Internet, hence this update. I STRONGLY recommend visiting http://netsmartz.org, download, view and distribute the presentation. There are some very good tips on keeping kids safe on the Internet.

With that in mind, if you have a child, and want to be proactive in how your child uses the computer, I don't think there is any software better than Peanut Butter Software, available from Peanut Butter Software. Since I have a child that uses the computer, I looked at all kinds of software, browser filters, etc., until I came across this one. I highly recommend it.

Recently, I've been answering questions about computer security at Yahoo Answers. Apparently, there are a lot of people who need help after having gone out on the Internet.
My Yahoo Avatar – The cat, boy and purse match.

So, I'm putting this list of things that I do to keep safe. They work. They are all free. They work.
1. AVG – I have been using AVG Free for years and have never had a problem.
2. Mal-ware Remover – I like Spybot Search and Destroy. Be sure and put it into advanced mode and take a look at the BHOs and start up programs. You might be surprised to find out what is starting automatically. I also like Malware Bytes.
3. Start-Up Monitor – a tiny little program that alerts you when programs are trying to install on your system, or want to load up on start up.
4. StartUp Control Panel – run this little program from the control panel and enable/disable programs that run on start up.
5. Process Explorer will show you what programs are running on your computer. It's like Task Manager on steroids, and is a great way to stop malware in its tracks (you still have to remove it, but this program will kill it for now.
6. Spyware Blaster – inoculates your browser(s) against known spyware and malware
7. Hostsman – a hosts manager makes it so your browser cannot even go to certain malicious web sites, also prevents a lot of ad tracking
8. Firewall – Windows has a firewall, but it only monitors incoming traffic. It does not monitor outgoing, nor does it monitor programs opening other programs unexpectedly. I like Sunbelt's firewall.
9. Software Inspector – It is important to know which if any of the programs on your systems have vulnerabilities, and get them patched.
10. Disable iframes and frames.

If you are using Internet Explorer, change to a better browser. Opera has no vulnerabilities, all have been patched. Next would be Firefox , although there are some unpatched issues.

There have been many websites, familiar websites, that have been hacked with malicious javascript that opens a 1 pixel iframe. This has been done mostly to classic asp sites that run MS SQL, and have had SQL injection. This is the author's fault, for not taking precautions about SQL injection in the first place. You would probably not even notice a 1 pixel iframe, but if it is active, it can lead you to a malicious site that will install malware on your system, without you even knowing it. Your best bet is to disable iframes, and even frames, as these can also be problematic when the frame source is a javascript that downloads malware, and the frame is 0 pixels — again, can't be seen.

If you are using Outlook, I strongly recommend getting another email client. Outlook is one of the easiest ways to get an infection. I recommend Pegasus to read mail and Mailwasher to preview headers before downloading to an email client.

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