A user's guide to online security

Friday, 21 February 2003, 3:27 PM EST

Computer security used to mean making sure that the door was locked on your way out of the house. Now, thanks to the internet, security means protecting your computer from unknown electronic assailants as well.
At first, this job seems very daunting. Newspapers are full of headlines about the latest virus doing the rounds or the latest company to get hacked.

Remember that these kind of headlines can't be taken at face value; they play on our fears, without giving us the help that we need.

We've taken it upon ourselves to set the record straight and give you practical advice on how to protect your computer from online threats.

Our first lesson is don't panic: internet security isn't quite as hideous as it sounds. So, forget the hype, make a cup of tea and we'll talk you through everything you need to know.

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