The internet is a wonderful resource and has so much to offer however there are dangers - I have tried to put together some info and links to free software and websites that may be helpful in keeping you and your computer safe.
I make no recommendations for particular software, you should check it is compatible and only download from a reputable source. Best practice is to always run an anti-virus scan on any downloads before opening them.
First lets deal with your computer / tablet / smartphone - anti-virus software is a must, without up to date anti-virus software your machine is vulnerable to viruses and malware - A firewall is also a must - Windows and Mac OSX have built in firewalls - make sure these are on if you are not using another firewall. Check that auto updates are enabled or at least check for updates for the operating system regularly. Turning PC's off when not in use saves energy and stops remote access. For mobile devices there are a number of apps available to help protect and 'clean' your device, before downloading I would always do a search to see what other users had to say about them, some are more useful and safer than others.
Check your Internet provider's and your bank's website - they may offer free anti-virus and other tools
Agnitum's Outpost Free Edition - firewall
Comodo - firewall
ZoneAlarm - firewall
Windows has a free anti-virus and there are other free anti-virus software packages available -
Microsoft's Security Essentials antivirus is free to users of "genuine Windows machines" (it will verify your license). Three versions are available, for Vista and Windows 7 - Windows 10 comes with 'Defender' www.microsoft.com/Security_essentials
and for Windows 8.1. - www.microsoft.com/en-GB/security/pc-security/windows8.aspx
Other free basic anti-virus
AVG - free basic version of their anti virus software
Avira (more for those with some technical PC knowlage)
Sophos antivirus for Apple Macs systems
ClamXAV 2 antivirus for Mac OSX
As well as anti-virus you should also consider additional protection - many UK banks offer Trusteer Rapport as free software to help protect against financial malware (Malware and phishing can allow cyber criminals to access your device, and get hold of your account numbers, passwords and personal information)
Suggestions - have more than one email account - use one for personal i.e. family & friends, another for online shopping and maybe another for 'others' like entering competitions, ordering broachers, requesting info from a website. - Online shopping is very popular and can save you money but if you are buying from a company / website for the first time you may be giving them your email address, home address and perhaps credit / debit card details - simple
CCleaner allows a user to remove clutter from the hard drive and files, which can deliver performance improvements. (for windows) download from piriform.com
Internet Safety Help & Reporting sites
If you are concerned about online abuse, bullying, grooming or fraud the following sites may be able to offer help or information
If you have been ‘scammed, ripped off or conned’ you can report to Action Fraud, or on 0300 1232040. It is a 24/7 service This service is run by the National Fraud Authority - Twitter @actionfrauduk
BBC Webwise is the BBC's beginner's guide to the internet.
CEOP is a command of the National Crime Agency Safety Centre - gives advice, help and acts as a report centre... if someone has acted inappropriately towards you online, or to a child or young person – report it - also on Twitter @CEOPUK
ChildLine - You can phone on 0800 1111 - you can speak to someone in private and the number will not show up on your phone bill. - Twitter @childline
Childnet International is the children's internet charity committed to helping to make the internet a great and safe place for children. - Twitter @childnet
Click Clever Click Safe is a UK Council for Child Internet Safety campaign aimed at young people and parents.
Cyber Street - information about staying safe online. Online safety for the home & SMEs - Be Cyber Streetwise is a cross-government campaign, funded by the National Cyber Security Programme
FFA UK Financial Fraud Action UK - fraud prevention advice - Twitter @FFAUK
Get Safe Online - resource providing practical advice on how to protect yourself, your computers and mobiles device and your business against fraud, identity theft, viruses and many other problems encountered online. - Twitter @GetSafeOnline
Insafe - European network of Awareness Centres promoting safe & responsible use of internet & mobile devices to young people. - Twitter @Insafenetwork
InternetMatters.org is able to provide information for parents and children regarding a number of issues including Cyberbullying, Sexting, Online Grooming and more. Their guides contain a number of ways to approach the subject of Internet Safety.
NSPCC Net aware: Parents review kids social networks, apps & games
Parents Protect! is a child protection campaign that delivers training to parents, carers and professionals and also operates an educative website designed to raise awareness to child sexual abuse, internet safety and to give you the information you need to protect children. The website also features an e-learning programme that provides information on how to keep your family safe and what to do if you are worried about child sexual abuse.
PAPYRUS is a UK charity committed to suicide prevention, including the closing down of websites that encourage suicide. - Twitter @PAPYRUS_tweets
Report-it - A new service for reporting all hate crimes online has been launched by the police
Network for Surviving Stalking provides advice on what to do if you are being stalked and your rights and the law on stalking and harassment.
Teachernet has published guidance written by Childnet International for the Department for Children, Schools and Families about cyberbullying and advice on ways in which school staff can be protected.
Teachtoday provides information and advice for teachers, head teachers, governors and other members of the school workforce about the positive, responsible and safe use of new technologies. -Twitter @TeachtodayUK
UK Safer Internet Centre, where you can find e-safety tips, advice and resources to help children and young people stay safe on the internet. Twitter @UK_SIC