Five free ways to stay safe online

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Internet safety

Portable Apps - Security and convenience on a USB

The Ultimate way to safeguard your online profile is to keep it with you at all times! If you didn't think it was possible then enter stage left the free software from Portable Apps. It works by installing a small program onto a portable storage device e.g. a memory card, USB Flash drive or portable hard drive. Once installed you simply load your favourite apps from the built in app store. You will find a wide variety of popular free programmes including; Dropbox, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Skype and VLC Media Player.

Portable Apps' primary goal is to allow you to use your own personal programs on any computer without having to install them. It's not just for the security obsessed, it also makes every computer you use feel like your own. So, if you're using the office computer to browse the internet, your browser history and favourites will be stored back to your flash drive - leaving your office computer free from your digital trail. Portable Apps also boldly claim to have the worlds most secure USB flash drive which can be seen here or download the Portable Apps software at www.portableapps.com/download

PortableApp statisticsPortable Apps
Eight years of development, 55 available languages, 1/3 of a billion downloads, millions of users, 300 virus checked and regularly updated apps - just some of the reasons why PortableApps has made it to the top of our list!
Open DNS - FREE Parental Control for all devices

Open DNS is a free way to protect all computers, iPad's, games consoles and mobile internet devices without having to pre-load any software. The disadvantage of most parental control software is that it's limited to the machine it's installed on. So, if the children get their hands on a mobile internet device it could offer unrestricted access to the Internet.

One way to address the security on multiple devices is to change the DNS settings on your broadband router to the ones provided to you by 'Open DNS'. You can select which type of website content you wish to block - or simply choose a filtering level (low, medium or high). A low filtration level will block just adult content where as a high level filter will also block social media networks and video streaming websites etc. Changing your DNS to 'Open DNS' has many advantages. It's likely to make your internet surfing noticeably faster and automatically blocks identity theft websites (known as "Phishing"). Best of all - it's simple to set up and totally free! To learn more visit www.opendns.com

Google Verification App

This application adds a third level of security to your Google email account. To log in to your Google mail account you need a username and password, a basic way to keep unwanted users out of your account. But, even if you have chosen something better than 'Password1' and your dogs name, it's still open to abuse. Many of us use the same usernames and password for numerous accounts which doesn't help matters. Google Mail users should take a look at the video below to see how the Google Authenticator App can help keep their account safe.

Free Anti-virus for MAC's

If you own a PC the chances are you have some sort of antivirus software installed on it. But, if you own a MAC computer the likelihood is you don't! Whilst the number of viruses targeted at MAC computers are far lower that those aimed at PC's, complacency could be a costly mistake. ClamXav is a free anti-virus program available to download from the App Store.

Norton Family - Parental control

Norton by Symantec is well known for its premium antivirus software, but it also offers a free service called 'Norton Family'. This free program has extensive Internet parenting resources, giving you control over what your children can access online. This software is supported by Windows and Mac OS. Sign up online here

Support open source software! We would like to take this opportunity to highlight the fact that some of the software programs above that are free to download like Portable Apps and ClamXav are 'Open Source'. This typically means that they have been created as a collaborative effort in which software programmers volunteer their time to create and improve code and share the developments within the community. If after trying their software you find it helpful, please consider whether you could offer a donation to contribute towards their running costs. The facility to do this is contained within their own website.

Article data supplied by Axis Networks, IT. and network support based in Bristol.