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PAN or (Personal Area Network) Security

15 years ago, somebody advising you on how to avoid computer viruses and other malware might have advised you to be careful with floppy disks and to get rid of the Internet. Unfortunately, the Internet has become so entrenched in different aspects of our lives that it has made itself very difficult to boot out the window. Students require it for class; employees require it for work; teenagers use it to keep up with their friends and desperate young adults use it to Google “how to know if a girl/guy likes you”. It’s important to know how to stay safe on the Web!

Don’t click on strange links
Many scams send users emails with a subject that says things like, “LOL, check out this photo of you!” or “Did you see this awesome video? You’ll laugh your head off!” These emails generally have a link in the body. Clicking on the link often causes that email to be resent to all of your contacts list or can wreak other mischief. Even if you get it from a close friend or family member don’t trust it: they may have fallen victim to the scam.

Don’t believe everything you read on Facebook
Of the hundreds of millions of active users on Facebook, I would hazard a guess that 87.23% of them have been invited to some sort of page offering the opportunity to find out who is “Facebook stalking” you. Facebook states that this is impossible. Many of these groups, apps, and events are benign, others are not. One such scam had a link to an external site which hacked users’ accounts and posted vulgar comments on their friends’ walls.

Be wary of popups
Many popup scam sites like to claim that your computer has “3 trojans, 4 viruses, and a nasty cough on the side.” Don’t click on the link for free or discount virus removal software (unless you enjoy visits to the computer technician). In fact, clicking on any popups at all is precarious to the health of your laptop (and sanity).

Keep Up-to-Date Antivirus Software
Now that I’ve convinced you to dodge phishy (and fishy) virus protection popups, I do heartily endorse getting real virus protection on your system. Traditionally, companies such as McAfee and Symantec have dominated the market. Nevertheless, there are many free antivirus programs. Systems such as Windows Security Essentials and AVG Free can give you many of the same advantages of big-name antivirus systems without the 3-year subscription price. Many of these are actually better than the programs that require subscription.

Steer clear of fishy websites
In your city there are areas that you probably avoid when walking alone at night. Just as you wouldn’t go carrying $600 down a dark, lonely alley, you shouldn’t visit such areas on the Internet with your $600 computer. You probably know what I’m talking about. In case you don’t, websites that were made back in the 90s (back when adding 10 dancing chipmunks in swimsuits was a cool way to decorate your webpage), are not a good way to go. Websites that have a ton of popups are usually a bad area to visit as well.

Make your children aware of Internet safety
Internet safety is important to keep both your children and your computer safe. Obviously, your first responsibility should be to keep your children safe from online predators and other dangers. However, make sure they know how to keep the computer safe from viruses and other threats. Supervise them when they use the Internet to make sure they don’t wander into harmful sites. Installing a filter on your computer is also a handy way of keeping your kids on sites that are safe.

About the Author

    Derek Gurr is a web content editor for
    My Colleges and Careers helps people find out if an online education
    is right for them and helps them find out which colleges are the best online colleges for them and their specific situation.

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