Comrade Ejabena Sunny (MSc InfoTech)
ICT Solutions and Services Provider

The world is everyday becoming more unsafe. There are people (with criminal minds) who have decided that their preoccupation is creating problem for humanity. Therefore, to mitigate the bad intention of these criminal minds, there are many different kinds of physical security gadgets people install in their residence to protect themselves and properties from attacks. These range from CCTV, IP camera, burglary detectors, proofs and alarms, electrified fence, metal detector, etc. Also, in cyber world, some people (hackers and, online thieves) are bent on making life difficult for internet users by developing all manner of software programs (viruses, worms, Trojan horses, etc.) to wreak havoc on computers, steal user’s identity and/or money while they are online.

As a result, internet users install programs such as antivirus, internet security programs, firewall, etc. or a combination of these programs to protect their computers from the effect of these malicious programs. (

There is no doubt that the advent of the internet has made many people have access to information. This also has created another kind of problem: online or cyber security. When a User accesses the internet without his/her computer protected by up-to-date antivirus software, chances are that the computer might be infected with computer virus which could mess up the computer system files. The feeling one gets when you discover that your computer has been compromised or your data/money stolen, is lost, could be horrible.

Most of our activities on the internet are done accessing web pages and locations via our web browsers. The Web is full of malicious programs and software that can wreak havoc on your computer’s file systems. Therefore, our first line of defense or protection against online attack or infection is to have a secured browser. A web browser is the software that enables you to access web pages from the web server. In other words, the web browser is client software that request for web pages from the web server. There are many internet web browsers but the three most common ones are: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. Studies have shown that these three browsers are fast, stable and secure. This is because these browsers are actively developed and constantly improved. Security vulnerabilities found in the browsers are patched quickly. Read more

The Web browsers use and employ various elements, such as Java, ActiveX and cookies to generate content for the required web pages. By default, these components are configured for secured browsing. However, they can be re-configured to improve online and safer browsing experience. Installation of antivirus software is a secure step towards protection of the computer. The antivirus is a software that protects the computer against the infection of computer virus, worms, Trojan horses and other malware.

Some popular and secure web browsers

Some antivirus programs have addition features such as internet security, firewall, mail protection, etc. They come in various features but the basic thing they do is that they protect the computer from online attack and prevent the infection of files and folders from virus infection. Some can do much more.

However, just installing the antivirus software on the computer does not guarantee protection; the computer has to be online most times to download the current antivirus update files and security vulnerabilities. Some popular antivirus programs are: Norton, MacAfee, Avira, AVG, Sophos, Kaspersky, Trend, Avast, etc. These antivirus software packages come with yearly license fee. However, there are free. antivirus software available in the internet which can also perform the basic task of protecting the PC.

Ensuring that the PC has up-to-date operating system patches (i.e., system updates) will also guarantee protection for computer against hackers who might want to take advantage of the operating systems vulnerabilities. It is recommended to set your Operating Systems (e.g., Windows 7, 8.1, 10) and applications to automatically update if possible. This also means that the computers should be operating systems installed that are supported.

Installing an operating that is no longer supported by its developer will imply there will be no patches for vulnerabilities, so when such computer is used online it will be vulnerable to attack or infection. For example, Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows XP are susceptible to online infection.

However, doing the above will not give hundred percent guarantee that there will be no infection or online attack. As internet Users the protection of computers depends on us, internet safety is our individual responsibilities. Our actions and inactions a long way to determine how protected we are from snoopers and cybercriminal minds. – Visit only trusted sites with valid security certificates.

– As much as possible, try to avoid pornographic websites. Porn sites on the Internet are hotspots for dangerous malware like pop-up ads and security threats. – Be very careful when asked to fill out personal information, like credit card account numbers. You may be the next victim of Internet scams and cyber-theft.

– Clear your browser cache every now and then to free up hard drive space. – Be very careful when using download managers. They may make downloading files easier and faster. but they can also download malware in the background.

Internet safety practices

-Do not open an e-mail attachment if you are not absolutely sure what it contains. – Run a full system scan and full disk defragmentation every month ‘ Never disclose your password to important or private Internet accounts to anyone.’ Always remember to log out of important accounts like e-mail, forums, or social network sites.

-Be very careful when using removable writable media (e.g., USB flash drive). Viruses and malware may copy themselves onto the drive and affect other computers you attach the drive to.

– Avoid opening emails from senders with whom you’re not familiar. – Be careful opening email attachments, even if they come from people you know. If you’re not expecting to receive a file, send them a new email or contact the sender via other means to inquire whether he or she really did send the file and why.

– Utilize pop-up blocking, where possible, when browsing the Web. Read more  

Internet safety is about securing yourself from cybercriminals. Internet security begins and ends with you. You are the one in control of the and not the software. Installing system updates/patches, sophisticated internet antivirus, internet security and firewall without browsing best practices does not guarantee internet safety; internet safety is your responsibility.

This article was originally published in the Nigeria Construction Digest Vol 1 No. 6 June 2016. Images from www,

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