Stay Safe Online With These 101 Tips And Programs


1. Install a quality antivirus program and keep it updated
2. Setup a firewall (a 2-way firewall is best)
3. Install an antispyware application
4. Buy or download a good spam filter
5. If you are using IE7 (or earlier) consider changing browser for increased security
6. Use the Hosts file to safely redirect malware and advertising (advanced users only)
7. Surf in private by using a Proxy (advanced users)


8. Always backup your critical data onto CD, DVD, or other removable media
9. Windows users should turn on Automatic Updates in order to keep their operating system fully patched against the latest security threats
10. Update all Software products periodically on your system
11. Schedule regular virus scans. I would recommend at least weekly
12. Likewise, schedule regular antispyware scans
13. Make emptying your recycle bin a regular practice
14. Ensure User Account Controls are enabled in Windows Vista
15. Register your copy of Windows as soon as it is installed
16. Whenever you install new software be sure to read the End User Licensing Agreement (EULA)
17. If you have Windows Vista and kids then utilise user accounts and Parental Controls to help keep them safe
18. Never use public computers to enter sensitive data, i.e. checking your online bank account in an internet cafe
19. When entering credit card details or personal data make sure the website you are on is secure
20. Avoid peer-to-peer networking – music and movies from these sites tend to be infested with malware and such downloads are often illegal too
21. Change the passwords you use on the internet on a regular basis
22. When making a new password ensure you choose one that cannot be easily cracked
23. Never disclose your personal information, i.e. name, age, address, SSN on public forums or social networking sites


24. Never open email attachments unless you are 100% certain you can trust the sender
25. Never unsubscribe from spam emails (you’ll just end up getting more)
26. Never click on links sent to you via Instant Messaging services
27. If your email client uses auto-preview of messages then turn it OFF
28. If you receive email from someone you do not know then don’t open it, just delete it
29. Do not use links in emails to visit your banking site (such links are almost certainly false and will lead to phishing sites)
30. E-cards are nice but if you don’t know the sender then you really shouldn’t open them
31.If your operating system or antivirus needs updating then do so properly – never initiate updates via links in emails


32. If you visit a website and Google says it is infested with malware then pay attention and leave. Pronto
33. Try and avoid inappropriate sites which will attempt to hijack your browser or install malware
34. When surfing for topical subjects be aware that malware authors are getting good at ranking infested sites for popular search terms
35. If you are using an older browser consider upgrading to a newer one that comes with better security features
36. Make it a regular task to clean your browser cache of all temporary files, history, cookies, passwords, etc.
37. Carefully consider your browser’s security settings and choose a level that is appropriate to you


38. If you experiencing popups, fake virus warnings or system slowdown then you may very well have an infection
39. When choosing a program to remove malware put in some research time – there are many rogue applications out there that will make matters worse
40. Learn as much as you can about a malware infection – there are websites that offer step-by-step removal guides if you know which one(s) are on your system
41. There are many free online scanners on the web but make sure you choose one from a reputable company
42. A registry cleaner may help in removing some difficult malware agents
43. You may be able to safely remove some malware by using Window’s ‘Safe Mode’
44. After clearing your system of malware change all your passwords in case they have been compromised


45. There are hundreds of websites, blogs and articles about security online. Read them to improve your knowledge
46. Use a service such as Twitter to get breaking news on security topics
47. Whenever updates and patches to your software and operating system become available you should install them
48. Never forward email hoaxes – they are annoying and some even contain malware or are used to collect email addresses for spamming purposes
49. No-one ever gives anything away for nothing – son’t believe emails that say you have won a lottery or gained an inheritance from someone you don’t even know
50. Setup separate user accounts for everyone who uses your computer and give each of them their own password
51. Pass on what you have learned to your friends and family
52. If you ever make a security error then learn from it and don’t make the same mistakes twice



53. Avast! Home Edition is one of the better free antivirus packages on the market and features both antispyware and rootkit protection.
54. AVG Free Edition is, perhaps, the most well-known free antivirus available on the web today.
55. Avira Antivir Personal will scan your computer for evidence of malicious programs such as viruses, Trojans, worms, etc.
56. Bitdefender 10 Free Edition allows the end-user to employ an on-demand virus scanner for zero cost.
57. Clamwin‘s features include a scanning scheduler, standalone virus scanner and an addin for Microsoft Outlook that allows for the manual identification of virus-infected attachments.
58. Panda Cloud Antivirus is the first free cloud-based antivirus client.
59. Comodo Internet Security is a free all-in-one security software that that comprises of antivirus, host intrusion prevention system and a firewall.
60. Microsoft Security Essentials Beta offers a good level of protection against the usual suspects, such as viruses, spyware, Trojans, worms and all the other bad stuff.
61. PC Tools Antivirus Free Edition is another recommended antivirus program.


62. AVG has an easy-to-use interface and has recently been optimised to make better use of the multiple cores found in modern processors.
63. BitDefender 2009 is not only good against the usual suspects – viruses, spyware, hackers and spam – it also blocks attempted identity theft, i.e. phishing.
64. F-Secure is an antivirus program that scans incoming and outbound email communications in real-time and also shields your registry against possible hijacking attempts.
65. Kaspersky Anti-Virus Products offers real-time email scanning as well as hourly updates.
66. McAfee comes with a ScriptStopper which prevents viruses spreading from one computer to another via email and also a WormStopper which, funnily enough, does much the same for worms.
67. The NOD32 antivirus software by ESET provides real-time protection against the bad guys – worms, trojans, spyware, malware, phishing and hackers.
68. Norton, offers a ‘PC Tuneuo’ function which can clean and repair your computers registry in addition to discovering other issues which may affect the speed at which your computer runs.
69. Panda Antivirus offers all the usual features, such as protection from viruses and keyloggers, as well as spyware protection to name but a few.
70. Trend Micro antivirus + antispyware utilises protocols for protecting PCs against viruses, worms and trojans, spyware, rootkits and malware.


71. Ad-Aware offer a free antispyware application that has many of the features found in their paid version.
72. Spyzooka is an intuitive and easy to use antispyware program.
73. Webroot’s Spy Sweeper sweeps away spyware. This anti spyware download software has received a number of PC Magazine Editors’ Choice awards for spyware protection. Spy Sweeper has an extensive spyware database and currently scans for over 150,000 spyware components.
74. NoAdware anti spyware is constantly updated to identify the latest threats to your privacy. The software will scan your PC for different Spyware, Adware, Dialers, and Web Bug traces.
75. PC Tools’ Spyware Doctor has consistently been awarded Editors’ Choice, by leading PC magazines and testing laboratories around the world. Recently its Starter Edition was included in Google Pack.
76. CA’s AntiSpyware has a free 30-day demo which has a full working version; however, you’re asked to provide a lot of personal information.
77. Trend Micro which has excellent Anti Virus features has recently developed Anti spyware that acts as the first line of defense against threats like spyware, grayware, viruses, and phishing.
78. Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware Free is a free anti spyware download software, however it does not offer real time online protection . Moreover it is not extremely aggressive in detecting and removing certain adware.
79. Microsoft’s Windows Defender is an anti spyware download software program designed to prevent, remove and quarantine spyware in Microsoft Windows. So Linux based systems cannot use it.
80. Spybot – Search & Destroy is currently released as freeware. However, the fine print of the license indicates a commercial distribution. It has been applauded for its ease of use and installation, free support and updates but it suffers from having a small spyware database.
81. Counter Spy: Besides acting as an anti spyware software, it also gives privacy protection by erasing files and clearing your web browsing history.
82. McAfee protects your system from spyware before it gets a foothold.


83. BlackICE (now discontinued by IBM) is a mainstream, general purpose firewall. It features a very well-designed user interface and logging capabilities, as well as many free and frequent updates.
84. Another top firewall is Sygate personal firewall. It provides very good protection, and it also has mail notifications and automatic logging.
85. Zone Alarm is a very user-friendly firewall; the most basic version can be downloaded for free without any extensive limitations except for the lack of few advanced features.


86. Spam Bully is an email filter for Outlook, Outlook Express and Windows Mail. It works with Windows Vista.
87. Spamfighter Pro is an award-winning filter used in 206 countries.
88. Outlook Spam Filter is an easy-to-use MS Outlook add-on that features Bayesian filtering technology.


89. Firefox from Mozilla (Windows/Mac/Linux)
90. Internet Explorer from Microsoft (Windows)
91. Chrome from Google (Windows)
92. Opera (Windows/Mac/Linux)
93. Safari developed by Apple (Mac/Windows)


94. Buddy Browser
95. Kid Zui
96. Kid Rocket
97. PikLuk
98. Kidoz
99. My Kids Browser
100. Kidsplorer
101. Glubble

Can you add any tips to this list?

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. I’ve not used them all so can’t really comment on that. I certainly rate Firefox above Internet Explorer though.

  2. Which browser do you think is the safest?

  3. Installing and maintaining a good antivirus program is certainly an excellent start for anyone who wants to remain safe online.

  4. If you follow tip #1 then that will probably keep you safer than all the others added together.

  5. Awesome list. Thanks for sharing so many infosec tips.

  6. Thanks Mary 🙂

  7. WOW, thats an awful large number of tips. I’m gonna have to come back and read later but looks good.


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