Social Networks, everyone calls them a different name, but it’s where adults are flocking. They are a combination of a diary, a personal ad and a cyberdating Web site. The sites are designed to allow people to share their creativity, pictures, and information with others. Sometimes people also do this to find romance. Sometimes they do it to find friends with similar interest.

But you need to use a little caution, people online might not be who they say they are, and you can expose yourself to risk from identity thieves and hackers.

And then there is tracking by even the major companies. Most people who use instant messaging software incorrectly believe that their messages cannot be tracked. Most popular instant messaging software incorporates archiving features that can be activated by anyone who uses them. In addition, most companies and government agencies utilize software that scans the content of text messages and makes copies of the text for archival storage.

Yahoo has recently introduced a system that uses complex models that analyze records of what its 500 million users do on its site, and then use this information to tailor their web experience.

A good first step to safe surfing is to use a software and/or hardware firewall. A firewall will greatly help to stop others from accessing files on the computer that is connected to the Internet. A malicious hacker may attempt to gain access to computers connected to the Internet to gain access to personal information, to turn the computer into a zombie machine that sends out SPAM 24 hours a day, or carry out other malicious activities.

You should also have Spyware Software. It is a huge problem on the Internet today. What spyware does is hide on the users computer and record what websites the person views and other activity the user does over the Internet. It is highly recommended to get a good spyware blocker for any computer connected to the Internet. Always watch carefully to see what programs are installing on your computer

Next, a user really needs good antivirus software. Antivirus software will scan the user computer for viruses and trojans that can erase data, damage hardware, and cause the computer to crash.

For anonymous Internet surfing, the programs Anonymizer and StealthSurfer are excellent in they will block the user IP address from websites. Blocking the IP address allows for the user to browse the Internet anonymously and not be tracked or have any information about their browsing habits revealed or stored at the websites visited.

Email Security Tips - Good information to follow such as never opening emails that have attachments when it isn't known who the email is from or when the email has not been scanned by a good anti-virus program. Also, never give out your personal or credit card information via email. Especially don't send personal information to individuals pretending to be legitimate companies (phishers).

Online Safety Suggestions
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Lavasoft anti-spyware
Free Virus & Spyware Scan
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