12 Steps to Online Safety

Nearly 90% of all computers are affected by spyware - virtually everyone with an Internet connection. Here's how to protect your personal information and stay safe online.

  1. In addition to having anti-virus and anti-spyware protection, such as the security offered in Ad-Aware Free Antivirus +, Ad-Aware Personal Security and Ad-Aware Pro Security, make sure to also use a two-way firewall and to have Windows auto-update turned on. If you're in need of an all-in-one security solution, Ad-Aware Total Security provides anti-malware, a firewall, anti-spam, anti-phishing, and much more - ensuring essential online protection.
  2. Surf and download safely. Only go to websites you trust. Free, file-sharing programs are often bundled with sneaky spyware. Read all End User License Agreements and privacy statements carefully before installing new software.
  3. Never click "agree" or "OK" to close a pop-up window - that can trigger spyware. Only click on the red "x" in the corner or click on Alt + F4 to close the window safely.
  4. Update your software regularly to make sure you have all the latest critical and security updates.
  5. Use an updated Web browser to make sure you're taking advantage of its current safety features. Adjust your browser security settings to medium or higher. Consider using an alternate browser (like Firefox or Opera) which may lower your risk of malware attacks.
  6. Be wary of e-mail attachments and links in both e-mail and instant messages. Use caution even when the message appears to come from a safe sender, as identity information in messages can easily be spoofed.
  7. Store sensitive data securely. Just as you keep sensitive paper documents under lock and key, secure sensitive online information through file encryption software.
  8. Be cautious about giving out your personally identifiable information to anyone. Find out why the information is needed, and if it's absolutely necessary to give out.
  9. Shred digital documents that contain personal or financial information before discarding them. This prevents hackers from bypassing information that has not been permanently deleted from your computer. Try our File Shredder: Helps you take control of the information you don't want anyone else to get their hands on by permanently removing the files.
  10. Choose secure passwords with both numbers and letters. Never use birthdays, family or pet names.
  11. Never log into your bank or other financial accounts from public computers or from wireless networks where login information can be stolen.
  12. Stay alert to the latest scams. Awareness and caution are effective methods to counter fraud. Share security tips you learn with friends and family.