PC security: Your essential software toolbox

Don't fall victim! With these tools, services and tips, you can protect yourself against malware, phishing and theft.

By , PC World |  Security

If children use your computer, you should look at ways to block inappropriate content and online predators. Even if children arent searching for unsuitable content, they could still stumble across it in searches, find it via links or advertisements, or even access it directly by mistyping a site address.

Enable Parental Controls in Windows: With the parental controls in Windows Vista and later versions (accessible through the Control Panel), you can determine when your kids can use the computer, which games and applications they can run, and the types of websites they can visit. The feature also provides activity reporting, so you can keep an eye on their computer usage.

Activate OpenDNS for Web filtering: As I mentioned earlier, OpenDNS is an online service that offers content filtering. But in addition to stopping malware and phishing sites, OpenDNS can block adult-oriented sites and other online material that may be inappropriate for children.

Even if you use the built-in Windows Parental Controls, OpenDNS is worth trying since it provides a second layer of protection. OpenDNS can also safeguard all computers and devices on your network when you configure the service on your router. You can use the free OpenDNS FamilyShield service without even creating an account. And if you wish to selectively block certain content categories, you can create a free or paid account with the OpenDNS Home or Premium DNS service.

Enable search engine filtering: Since children can encounter all sorts of inappropriate content in searches, consider enabling search filtering for the popular websites. You can do so in the preferences screens for Google and Yahoo. For YouTube, click the Safety Mode link at the bottom of any page.

Use SocialShield for social network monitoring: Aviras free SocialShield service helps you keep an eye on your childrens Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and MySpace accounts. It analyzes their public and private posts, photos, friends, and so on to alert you to anything that might compromise your childrens online safety.

Device and data theft

Not all security risks come by way of the Internet: You never know when a thief might try to steal your equipment. Although this is obviously more of a concern for laptops and mobile devices, theft is one of the simplest, yet most damaging, threats.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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