But with awareness as your safety net, you can minimize the chance of an Internet mishap. Being on guard online helps you protect your information, your computer, even yourself. To be safer and more secure online, adopt these seven practices.

  1. Protect your personal information. It's valuable.
  2. Know who you're dealing with.
  3. Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software, as well as a firewall, and update them all regularly.
  4. Be sure to set up your operating system and Web browser software properly, and update them regularly.
  5. Protect your passwords.
  6. Back up important files.
  7. Learn who to contact if something goes wrong online