We surf the Internet every day. We use Internet to search for information, to download files, read, write and keep in touch with our friends. But Internet is not an easy place where you can do whatever you wish without any risk. Internet is populated by hackers, crackers, viruses and malware ready to steal you money, your private data and in the worst cases, able to destroy your most precious software and even your whole operating system. That’s why is quite important to be able to know exactly what are the things we can safely do and perform while surfing the Web, from those that might potentially put yourself and our computer in danger.

This small guide doesn’t contain advices about software and wonderful free tools able to put you into an unbreakable safe. I am sorry to tell you that something like that has not been invented yet! There is no antivirus, antispyware, firewall and spam filter able to save you when something or somebody decides to target you and your computer. However, there are certain steps you can take in order to put you under a shed, so to speak, and make your Internet surfing safer and reliable. Here is a quick and useful do’s and don’ts list!

Passwords: Don’t use the same password for all of your Internet accounts. That’s really a bad habit. Just image an hacker spying you. Once he gets the password of your email account, he will also be able to gain access to everything else: your bank account, your Twitter account, your Facebook account etc. Your list of friends, your emails, your life stole because of a single password. Use different passwords and change them every 6 months. Also, don’t use simple passwords. A simple password containing your birthday date such as: Mike19620309 is too simple and even too much “guessable”. Keep it tricky! Use numbers, special symbols and capital letters such as: MiKe&64!

Email: Don’t reply to senders you don’t know. That’s a gold rule when it comes to opening your email account. Also, don’t perform irresponsible actions and don’t do whatever an unknown user may require you to perform. So, don’t open unknown attachments, don’t reply to people asking you to put their money into your bank account, don’t give your personal info to users who require, via email, your bank account number, username and password justifying their questions with the fact that they work for your bank. Don’t do this even if the email you get looks like an official request because, for example, includes your bank logo, your partial information etc.

Surfing: Don’t surf anywhere! Like the sea, Internet contains places where it is safe to surf an places which are quite dangerous. Don’t visit any website Google or other search engines display on their search results. Porn websites, warez websites, Become-a-multimillionaire blogs are only a few examples of places where hackers lure in the dark ready to steal your info or send you a virus. Well aware of these issues, majority of Web browsers have got among their options anti-phishing filters and safe-surfing options. Make sure they are enabled on your browser by visiting their Option sections.

Chat: There are hundreds of chat clients that allows you to chat with you family members, friends and, alas, with people you don’t know. Remember a simple thing. You really do not know who is chatting with you. Even if the user send you his pictures or show his face through his web-cam, you don’t know what are the intentions of an unknown user chatting with you in a friendly way. Thieves, phishes, sex maniacs usually start chatting with people in a very friendly way. They show themselves as you friends, as people you can talk about everything. What they do instead is to remember everything you say, everything you know and learn everything about you and your thoughts, fears, hopes etc and use all this information for their own advantages.

As you see the list of things to remember are not a lot and they are just common sense advices. Incredibly enough, despite these rules are pretty simple, they will be able to save you in more than one occasion while using your computer and surfing the Web. Remember, just because you sit in front of your computer, in your city, in your house, comfortably sipping a Coke it doesn’t mean that you are safe and protected from ill-intentioned people. An unspoken word, an unopened email attachment might safe you and your privacy more than any expensive antivirus.

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