Be­ing aware of in­ter­net haz­ards

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

Tech­nol­ogy of­fers amaz­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties that stu­dents 20 years ago would never have imag­ined. With these op­por­tu­ni­ties comes a de­gree of risk.

De­spite at­tempts to re­duce spam, viruses con­tinue to spawn at an alarm­ing rate. Per­haps more con­cern­ing is that the in­ter­net is seen by many as safe. More stu­dents than ever are spend­ing con­sid­er­able time on­line on what some con­sider danger­ous or dis­rep­utable sites. Some sim­ple steps can help re­duce your fam­ily’s ex­po­sure to risk as they head back to school.

The most im­por­tant thing to do is ba­sic com­puter safety main­te­nance.

Be­fore surf­ing the web, take these steps:

Use an in­ter­net fire­wall; it can pro­tect you from un­wanted in­tru­sions on the web. Up­dat­ing your soft­ware is of­ten the best way to avoid viruses, as most plat­forms will make reg­u­lar se­cu­rity up­dates avail­able. Many pro­grams can be set to up­date au­to­mat­i­cally.

While spy­ware pro­grammes are not par­tic­u­larly danger­ous, they can se­verely limit your com­puter’s per­for­mance so it is best to keep anti-spy­ware soft­ware up­dated. Most viruses come by email but they have to be opened by an end user, so do not open email from some­one you do not know. Many email mes­sages will ap­pear with­out a sub­ject line or with a hodge­podge of let­ters; these can be danger­ous. Never open a file that is at­tached. It is bet­ter to lose your friend’s email than to cor­rupt your en­tire sys­tem, and pos­si­bly the school’s.

Schools are aware of the im­por­tance of tech­nol­ogy in­fra­struc­ture. Be­ing aware of se­cu­rity as your fam­ily goes back to school can save you money, time and an­guish over lost or stolen ma­te­ri­als.

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