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Staying safe

This section guides you through some of the main things to think about to keep you and your computer safe.

The website Get Safe Online has lots more information to help you.

Don’t catch a computer virus

Antivirus – this is essential to protect your computer or tablet if you are using a Windows based system and going on the internet

Good news –get it free from one of these providers:

Look for a link to download the free software, usually clearly marked Download or Get… (check it is the free version – they also sell ones you pay for but these are not necessary so just don’t enter any bank details!)

If you buy a new computer or laptop it may come with a free antivirus package for the first 30 days – this is to get you to commit to buying when it expires, but you don’t have to do that. You can uninstall the antivirus put in by the manufacturer (more than one antivirus on your system at the same time can cause problems) and install one of the free options instead. The free options do often come with various ‘notifications’ (ie adverts) that will try to get you to upgrade to their paid versions. Panda allows you to turn this ‘news’ off in settings.


Protect yourself from ‘spies’

AntiSpyware is also essential to protect your computer from pop-ups and unwanted software that will slow it down.

This is also free. Check if you need to run weekly updates when you install to keep your computer safe.

Emsisoft Anti-Malware


Spybot Search & Destroy


Think before you click…

No anti virus and anti spyware software is perfect and you also need to:

  • Beware of smaller sites and avoid clicking on any pop-ups that come up
  • Never click on anything offering to update your software, for example website pop-ups
  • Beware of opening any file or link you get sent by email, even it is from someone you know, unless you know they meant to send it to you
  • Avoid illegal downloads and illegal file-sharing (torrenting). As well as breaking the law, illegal files are one of the biggest sources of computer problems
  • If you are shopping online always check the site is reputable and that the online checkout is secured by having https:// at the beginning of the address rather than just http:// or look for the padlock icon next to the website address in your browser address bar

Protect your passwords

If you start shopping online or doing anything that involves money you will be asked to set a password to protect your personal information

Choose hard passwords to crack and don’t use the same passwords for everything. This is especially important for passwords you choose for emails and anything to do with money and bank details