Computer technology gets more advanced each day – and so do the threats that come with it. Antivirus software and firewalls provide internet protection to keep your family safe online. In this article we’ll look at ways to boost your home broadband security.

Why do I need internet security?

Online threats from viruses and cyber criminals are constantly evolving. In the past few years, online attacks have happened to many well-known organisations.

Cyber threats include:

  • ‘Viruses and worms’ – these can infect and harm your computer and files. Some viruses can watch what you’re doing online and steal personal data.
  • ‘Ransomware’ – this locks you out of files or online accounts then charges you a ‘ransom’ to give you back your access.
  • ‘Phishing’ emails – these pretend to be from reputable companies to try and get your personal information.

Whether you’re connected via Wi-Fi or a cable, you need to have online protection. So make sure you secure all your devices including laptops, tablets and smartphones.

What are firewalls and antivirus software?

How do firewalls works?

A firewall is a virtual barrier. It checks and controls everything passing through. Firewalls can be set up to block or allow different information onto your computer to keep it safe and secure.

Hardware firewalls

Hardware firewalls are included on certain devices like your broadband router. They help to keep all devices attached to your network protected.

Software firewalls

Software firewalls are installed onto devices like your computer or laptop directly. So they only protect the devices they’re installed on. These firewalls can be set up to allow you to access certain things that might otherwise be blocked, like online gaming.

How does antivirus software work?

Antivirus software stops, finds and gets rid of harmful software like viruses, worms and spyware. These affect not only how your device works, but also destroy or steal private information held on it.

Antivirus software protects your device in two main ways:

  1. It checks the files you open, as you open them and tells you if it detects anything malicious.
  2. It scans everything on your device. These full system scans aren’t necessary all the time. But they’re essential when you first install the software, or have an update.

Virus protection software relies on virus definitions. New viruses and worms are created all the time, so it’s important you download updates for your antivirus software.

Tips for your home internet security

It's a good idea to use an internet security suite, which typically includes antivirus software, firewalls and parental controls. You can use it to protect your personal information and control the kids' activity online.

Here are some other steps you can take to keep your computer and personal information safe:

  • Never open attachments or links in emails from people you don’t know. Delete the attachment without opening it.
  • Use strong passwords and don’t use the same password for everything you do online. A password keeper can help if you have difficulty remembering your passwords.
  • Create an email address just for websites where you have to sign up but don’t want to get emails. This limits the spam emails sent to your main email address.
  • Make sure you only make financial transactions on secure websites. On checkout screens, look for https at the start of the web address.
  • Make regular backups of important documents in case they’re destroyed or blocked by a virus. You could use a Cloud network like Google Drive or a USB flash drive that you keep somewhere safe.

For more help with internet security, take a look at our other articles about phishing and spam emails and keeping your information safe online.

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