If you take a few precautions, you can safely use the Internet without having any problems. You will want to protect your computer against damage caused by hackers including viruses, spyware, adware, malware, spam and phishing. Here are some simple steps you can take to play it safe, including using a firewall and guarding against dangers.

Use a Firewall

A firewall is a software program or hardware device that acts as a barrier between the Internet and your computer or networked server (a computer that "serves" multiple computers). A firewall prevents unauthorized access to your computer or server (by both software programs and unauthorized Internet users) and hides your Internet-connected computer from view. All information leaving and entering your computer must pass through the firewall. It ultimately helps keep hackers away from your personal and confidential information.

Even if you have anti-virus and anti-spyware software installed, you need a firewall. A firewall is the perfect complement to anti-virus and anti-spyware software, providing a key component of a multilayered security strategy.

Firewall protection is available from McAfee, it's built into Windows (you just need to enable it), and there are several free firewalls available. For affordable, worry-free protection we recommend Frontier Secure Multi-Device Security.

Guard Against Dangers

At a minimum, a hacker gaining access to a home PC and its data is an affront to personal privacy. In the worst case scenario, it could lead to identity theft, the #1 growing crime in America. It doesn't take much to become a victim—a lost Social Security card or credit card will do the trick. Because it's a relatively new crime, people really aren't sure how to prevent it, or how to deal with it once they become a victim. The average identity theft victim spends about $800 on out-of-pocket expenses according to the Identity Theft Resource Center and 175 hours of personal time recovering their identity.

Spam messages may contain offensive or fraudulent material and can even be used to spread viruses. Spammers may also be using your computer to send these unsolicited and possibly offensive email messages. According to the FTC, as much as 30% of all spam is relayed by compromised home and home office PCs (zombie PCs), but controlled from afar.

To learn more and start protecting your computer, see Get Rid of Problems.

Note: Our Systems Administrator sometimes receives email from both customers and outside parties, claiming that they are being "attacked" by our servers from ports such as 110, 53, 25, and 80. These are not attacks. Your firewall will log any and all incoming as well as outgoing DNS requests. For assistance in reading or "translating" your firewall's logs, please contact your firewall manufacturer's support team.

Still need help? Call 1.800.239.4430 or Live Chat

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