Saturday, January 12, 2013

How Safe Are You When You Are on the Internet?

When I surf the Internet and write my blogs I use the Mozilla Firefox browser, mainly because I find it easy and I am used to it. I also have the McAfee Antivirus program protecting my computer - I thought. Part of the McAfee security software is the SiteAdvisor which rates the safety of the sites found when you are using a search engine.  SiteAdvisor is an excellent program which warns you when you are about to click on a dangerous site. This program is also free for anyone to download. For a very long time I have been using this on Firefox when I searched for things on the Internet, so I felt reasonably safe when I surfed the net.

I am by no means an expert in computers and the Internet, so I am still a little leery about opening some sites and reading my email. I never open any attachments in emails from people I don't know and I always scan the attachments from people I do know. So I was quite shocked when I was looking for information for IBS and clicked on a site, which opened with a gambling site. I closed it, thinking I clicked on the wrong link and then clicked it again, which brought me to another bogus site. I didn't click anything else and just sat back to watch TV. A few minutes later a screen opened warning that my computer had been hacked and I needed to take immediate action as my password and credit card information was compromised. It directed me to use my antivirus software to correct the problem. When I clicked on my McAfee program nothing happened with McAfee, but a new security program window opened requesting that I purchase their software immediately, for $89. The computer was frozen, as I could not use any program  without this alien security program popping up. Luckily my friend Kevin was with me and he discovered the problem and fixed it. apparently one of sites I clicked included a worm that infected my computer.

I was upset that McAfee was not able to detect this malicious software and I was also upset with Mozilla Firefox. I have always kept my Firefox up to date and I had recently just downloaded the latest version. What I didn't know was that the latest version of Firefox does not support Site Advisor and when I was searching I did not notice that I was not surfing safely.

Because of this incident I have switched to Google Chrome, which does support SiteAdvisor, to write my blogs and surf the Internet. I also have decided to change my security software from McAfee to another yet undecided program. I also will be more aware of the sites I visit and would advise my readers to be more vigilant in using the Internet. You can never let your guard down when using your computer.

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Ablog about liberal politics andsocial issues