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August 4, 2013

Learn how to safely cruise the Internet to avoid viruses

NORMAN — Most of us are usually able to mindlessly click our way around the Internet without considering the potential hazards behind every click. That’s a good thing; if every click on the Internet meant a virus would infect your computer, nobody would ever go there.

Odds are very high, though, that at some point in time, your computer will be infected by an Internet-borne virus. Minimizing your risk and knowing what to do should disaster strike will make you a victor in the battle for your little corner of the Internet, instead of becoming just another hapless victim.

Whereas most computer virus infections used to come from email attachments, attacks from virus-laden websites are becoming the norm. Most folks end up on infected websites by clicking on links in emails (a practice to be avoided) or clicking on Internet search results.

How can you learn “safe clicking?” The first thing to do is read the address of a link before clicking. When you are on a website that has a link you would like to try, put your mouse pointer on top of the link, but don’t click.

Then look at the bottom of your browser window. Notice how your browser will display the link’s hidden address in a long rectangular box at the bottom of the window. This is the first way to tell if a clickable link is legitimate or not.

For example, visit my website at davemoorecomputers.com. Scroll down a bit and you will see a graphic that links to EFF, the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Put your mouse pointer on top of the EFF logo and you will see the link’s address, eff.org, displayed down at the bottom of your screen. This tells you that clicking on the link will indeed take you to eff.org, which is EFF’s website.

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