I posted the "Beginners Guide To Security" before, but I changed around a few things and that thread was really old and nobody saw it, so I thought it would be better placed here and renewed a little bit.
This is my guide that I wrote myself. Please don't take it and put it on your site or anything without permission. ~ Le GoogelGuRu
First of all, you will probably want an antivirus program. Some of the free ones available on the Internet provide great protection, and obviously, are free. My personal favorite, which is also the one I regularly run is AVG Free Edition.
To download AVG Free Edition, go to http://free.grisoft.com
and youíll find it.
I will also compile a list of other antivirus programs, both free and not free.
A free antivirus that is a little over 10 MB is at www.free-av.com
ESET offers great protection at a price with Nod 32. www.eset.com
( I think )
Norton Antivirus, owned by Symantec is available in most retail stores, and I am not sure on whether it can be downloaded or not. But it is kind of bulky and a resource hog, so I donít really recommend it. It offers great protection though.
McAfee offers a security suite, that also costs money and I canít stand the way it updates. It does offer good protection though and a user-friendly interface. You can find the McAfee Security Suite, like antivirus and other tools in most retail stores like Wal-Mart, Radio Shack (TSBCC in Canada), etc. etc. or go online.
There are probably some more antivirus programs, although the ones I have listed above are the ones I have tried although my personal favorite is AVG Antivirus Free Edition. Just search Google for antivirus protection reviews.
Malware (Spy ware and ad ware) Protection
The Internet is full of ad-ware and spy-ware these days, so we recommend that you install several anti spy-ware programs on your computer, whether they offer real-time protection or not, and then run a scan every couple of days to stay safe.
First of all, there is a completely free ad-ware deletion program that I love, although you must pay if you want real time protection, and it is called Lavasoft Ad-Aware Personal SE. You can find it for download at www.download.com
Next, I would install a program by Microsoft called Windows Defender, or the former Microsoft Anti-Spy-Ware. Windows Defender will notify you when there is an update in protection available and you can scan your entire computer daily is recommended for optimal protection. Windows Defender is available for users that have Genuine Windows; that means you paid for your Windows license and it is completely valid and can be downloaded at no charge at www.microsoft.com
Third of all there is another free program I like called Spy-Bot Search & Destroy. Although some magazines say that this program doesnít detect much spy ware, I still use it along with the other programs. It has a nice simple interface and the file size isnít too bad. You can find it on Google by searching for it, as I donít really know what the direct website is. Itís probably on www.download.com
Once you have those three programs, or even some other programs along with them, it is recommended you scan every day or two days or so, depending on your online habits.
Your Online Habits Ė They Matter
Stay away from websites that contain serials, warez or any other type of pirated software. First of all, that is completely illegal to use anyway, you should be honest and pay for your software, the company works hard to build the software and they lose thousands or more each year from pirates. Pirated sites, including torrent sites may include advertisements that have mal-ware in them, or the crack downloads and stuff like that could have viruses bundled in with them. The best thing to do is to be honest, and buy all your software from an authorized reseller, or even from the company itself.
Other sites on the Ďdark side of the Internetí including pornography websites, are sites you should probably stay away from (or at least be careful if you really need to look. =P ) Some of these websites also contain mal-ware and viruses that could invade your computer.
Patches Ė Update Your Computer
Microsoft released Tech Net & Microsoft / Windows Update for a reason. And that was a good reason (or at least it sometimes it =P). Remember to regularly run Microsoft / Windows Update, you can find the link in your Start Menu > All Programs, it should be there somewhere or just turn on Automatic Updates and let it update itself in the background. Make sure you are running Windows XP Service Pack 2, that is the latest service pack that contains a bunch of security fixes and whatnot, although there are many (MANY!) more you should download from the Internet. A good thing to do is to check on security sites for updates, and download them the day they are released to play it safe.
Update for Vista:
The new Windows Update is also very easy to use and you can download patches quickly. I recommend running it once a week or so to stay completely secure.
Those are two examples of updates, one is rated high and the other is rated moderate. I recommend if you donít have them, to download them and the rest from (recommended) Windows Update. Microsoft Update / Windows Update will tell you what updates you need and what ones you donít need by checking your computer prior to showing the list of patches.
Monitor Your Child / Teenís Behavior Online
These days anything can happen online, especially on social networking websites such as Tagged and MySpace. You should monitor what websites your child or teenager visits, including message boards, and other places with user generated content. You should monitor what information your child gives out online, and tell him or her not to give out his or her name, address, postal code / zip code, location, or anything like that to any stranger that he / she meets on My Space or some other social network online.
If your child is talking to someone online, never let him or her meet that person without you being there. People online may not be what they appear to be, it is very easy for a 40 year old male to pretend to be a 11 year old female online, and it is easy for anyone to tell false information to trick other users.
Monitor who is on your childís instant messenger contacts, like MSN / Windows Live Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger / AIM, Yahoo! Instant Messenger (YIM), ICQ, or Internet Relay Chat / IRC or anything like that. See who your child is talking to, and what that person knows about your child. If you find anyone you donít know your child knows in their contact lists, ask your child about them and make sure your child will not tell them any personal information or anything like that. Be wise while online, whatever you are doing.
Junk Mail & Spam
If you receive spam emails or junk mail, do not reply to the message. That confirms that your email address is real. The best precaution you can take when you get a new email address, or even with your current email address is to never post it on the websites or in internet forms that you donít know the website.
Spam bots go throughout the internet searching on web pages for typed in email addresses and sometimes add them to their mailing list. If you must type your email address online, instead of typing (for example) firstname.lastname@example.org
it is better to use a precaution and type me [at] something [dot] com or something like that, and then if someone needs to email you all they must do is replace the [at] with an @ and the [dot] with a period, obviously. That is better since most spam bots canít pick up the email address when it is like that.
Another method you can use, and that I use myself is to use the free service called www.spamgourmet.com
. It works perfectly, you create what you call a disposable email address for each website, and that is the one you enter in the web form and it forwards it to your current one. That way, looking into the TO: field you can determine where the spam came from (what website or person).