58 - Internet and online security
By regularly updating your computer, you block attackers from being
able to take advantage of software flaws (vulnerabilities) that they
could otherwise use to break into your system.
While keeping your computer up-to-date will not protect you from all
attacks, it makes it much more difficult for hackers to gain access to
your system, blocks many basic and automated attacks completely,
and might be enough to discourage less-determined attackers, so
they will give up and look for a more vulnerable computer elsewhere.
More recent versions of Microsoft Windows and other popular
software can be configured to download and apply updates
automatically so that you do not have to remember to check for the
latest software. Taking advantage of auto-update features in your
software is a great start toward keeping yourself safe online.
Protect your computer with security software
Several types of security software are necessary for basic online
security. Security software essentials include firewall and antivirus
programs. A firewall is usually your computer's first line of defense-it
controls who and what can communicate with your computer online.
You could think of a firewall as a sort of "policeman" that watches all
the data attempting to flow in and out of your computer on the
Internet, allowing communications that it knows are safe and blocking
"bad" traffic such as attacks from ever reaching your computer.
The next line of defense many times is your antivirus software, which
monitors all online activities such as email messages and Web
browsing and protects an individual from viruses, worms, Trojan horse
and other types of malicious programs. Your antivirus and
antispyware software should be configured to update itself, and it
should do so every time you connect to the Internet.
Integrated security suites such as McAfee Internet Security Suite,
which combine firewall, antivirus, antispyware with other features such
as antispam and parental controls, have become popular as they offer
all the security software needed for online protection in a single
package. Many people find using a comprehensive security suite an
attractive alternative to installing, configuring and updating several
different types of security software.