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Microsoft Security Essentials: free antivirus

In the computing world, some things are worth paying for, and others aren't. For years, I've put antivirus and antispyware software in the not worth paying for category. My current favorite free security program is Microsoft Security Essentials. Microsoft released Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) in 2009, but its roots go back to an acquisition in […]

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Plugin Check: update your browser plugins

Browser plugins are small programs that enhance your browser. For example, the Flash plugin allows you to play Flash games and watch video on sites like YouTube, and the Adobe Reader plugin lets you open PDFs in your browser. As with any software, it's crucial that you keep your plugins up-to-date. Plugins are often updated […]

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Internet opportunities for small businesses

Once upon a time, small businesses got along fine without the Internet. They relied on word-of-mouth and traditional media (newspapers, TV, radio) to help customers find them. As the years went by, small business owners discovered they were losing market share to competitors who had basic websites (essentially digital business cards) to direct customers to […]

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Check the safety of websites before visiting them

Think for a second of how many links to websites you see each day. They come through email, Facebook, and Google search results. Especially if you don't recognize the name of the website, how do you know it's safe to visit? Google provides a first line of defense for search results by warning you of […]

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Most reliable laptop brands

SquareTrade is a warranty company that services laptops, among other products. The company studied laptop malfunction rates over 3 years to determine which were the most reliable. From most to least reliable: Of course, you don't want to buy a laptop based on a single factor. You also need to consider price and features. For […]

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Create and store strong passwords

It's incredibly important to use good passwords for websites, because they protect your accounts on email sites, banking sites, shopping sites, and social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Although there are other ways people can get into your accounts, guessing or hacking passwords is still one of the most widely-used methods. Here are a […]

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Find news safely online

Some of the most popular Google searches are for news headlines and current events. When people hear about stock market rallies, earthquakes, or celebrity deaths, they rush to Google for information. Need proof? Just check out the hot searches at Google Trends. The bad guys take advantage of this by hijacking search results - they […]

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Set Adobe Reader to update automatically

Adobe Reader, the ubiquitous PDF reader, has become increasingly targeted by malware. Just check out the Adobe┬áSecurity bulletins and advisories page for the long list of security updates Adobe has released recently. There are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of falling prey to a malicious PDF. These steps will only […]

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Inkscape: free graphics app

Looking for a free graphics app similar to Adobe Illustrator? Check out Inkscape. It's not as full-featured as Photoshop or the well-known free GIMP, but it's simpler to learn and use. I didn't have any experience with any of these graphics apps, but within a few hours of downloading it, I used Inkscape to design […]

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Search Multiple Specific Sites with Google Site: Operator

Learn how to search within specific sites with Google's "site:" operator.

Read More Internet safety advice

You know you should be doing more to protect yourself online, but much of the advice out there is overly-technical and confusing. Check out, a site providing plenty of straightforward tips for using the Internet safely. The site is backed by some big names, including the UK government, Microsoft, PayPal, and VeriSign. Here you'll […]

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