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5 Important tips you NEED to know to keep you safe online

With an ever increasing amount of users and devices being connected to the internet, it's important now more than ever before to be careful and cautious online. This isn't a scare article, it's just some basic tips to help stop you getting hacked or having your computer stop working due to malicious software.

There are a few ways to minimize your risk of getting malware, adware, ransomware or good old fashioned viruses and trojans.

Here are a 5 tips to keep the nasty's out of your PC and phone.

1. I think the most important tip is to not click on anything you are suspicious about. If you don't know if you should click something, you probably shouldn't. Its better to ask someone who "knows stuff about computers" than to click it and hope for the best.

2. Run an Adblocker on your internet browser if possible. I recommend using Adblock Plus for Google Chrome and Firefox. It's not so much to get rid of ads (which I don't particularly like anyway!) but it stops those ads that pop out and take over the screen from the streaming or torrent sites that you shouldn't be on. There is also Adblockers for phones now.

3. Run a Popup Blocker. In additional to blocking ads, a pop up blocker is crucial to stop those webpages from popping up and telling you your computer is infected, or you need to renew your antivirus etc. All the ways hackers get into your computer or phone. I suggest running Popup Blocker Pro for Google Chrome. For phone it's not so simple, sure Google Chrome on mobile blocks popups by default but some still sneak through. Your best option is to avoid torrent sites or download sites on mobile.

4. Keep software up to date. On your phone its as simple as setting it to auto-update. On your computer that's not the case, but there are a few tools that can make the job a little easier. I recommend using Secunia PSI. It runs in the taskbar and is pretty simple to use, its RED if you have programs that need updating and GREEN if you are all up to date. Another program I use to monitor for out of date software is FileHippo App Manager. Also as a side note to keeping software up to date, make sure Windows Updates are turned on, and for Windows 7 that you have Microsoft Update installed so it updates not just Windows Updates but other Microsoft software you may have on your computer.

5. Run an Antivirus. All the recent versions of Windows have a free antivirus built in called Windows Defender, but if you are running Windows 7 then you can download Microsoft Security Essentials. While these give you basic protection, there's other free and paid products that do a better job like Bitdefender. Whether you need to pay for an antivirus really depends on your level of experience on a computer.



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