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Caution when surfing the Internet

When surfing the Internet, hazards lurk that could jeopardise the security of your data and your computer.  Some of these hazards and the respective protective measures are:

Viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware

  • Do not download unknown programs
    Do not download unknown programs (games, screensavers, etc.) from the Internet. Click on "Cancel" or "No" if an unwanted download window appears.
  • Retrieve software updates from the vendor only
    Download software updates or drivers only from the web page of the respective vendor. Next, check it with an up-to-date virus scanner.

Social engineering, phishing and fraud
  • Caution when passing on information
    Do not disclose your username or password to anyone. No serious service provider would ask you for your password (even over the telephone). This also applies if the request appears credible and features of the service provider (e.g. e-mail address, web page look, logos, corporate identity). In case of any doubt always check first with the service provider.
  • Consider the reputation of the service provider
    When shopping online, make sure you deal only with reputable providers. Send your credit card details only on web pages with guaranteed data encryption. You can tell this by a small golden padlock at the lower left edge of your browser or by the protocol used in the URL (https instead of http).
  • Log off properly
    Always use the Logoff function when leaving web applications (e.g. webmail, Internet banking).

Data protection
  • Exercise restraint when filling in forms
    Avoid disclosing personal details. This applies particularly when filling in web forms.
  • Caution when writing to newsgroups
    Remember that contributions to newsgroups, forums and guest books will remain public for years to come.

Browser settings

Every web page consists of a series of instructions written in HTML code. These instructions tell the browser (e.g. Internet Explorer) how to display the contents of the web page. While some web pages consist only of text documents and do not offer any additional functions (static pages), other pages have dynamic content. Tickers, web forms for online orders, animated images and dynamically displayed advertising banners are some examples of this.  These dynamic functions can be implemented using ActiveX Controls and JavaScript which can, unfortunately, also be abused to cause unwanted and harmful actions on the visitor's computer.
  • Restrict JavaScript
    Try to limit (or deactivate) the execution of JavaScripts (Active Scripting) via the browser settings. Please note, however, that many web pages will no longer function correctly if JavaScript is deactivated. If this hampers your web browsing too much, you can ease the restrictions gradually to a degree that is acceptable to you.
  • Restrict ActiveX Controls (Internet Explorer only)
    Try to limit the execution of ActiveX Controls as much as possible via the browser settings.

    Change the Internet Explorer security settings to "high". How this can be done is explained step by step on pages 5 and 6 of the checklist and instructions „Security settings for Windows XP"(although these instructions on setting the Internet Explorer security levels can also be applied to other Windows operating systems).
    Important: Due to the fact that active scripting is used on many Internet websites, after changing the settings, some websites may not be able to be viewed in their entirety. For this reason it is recommended that frequently visited websites (which you also trust) are listed in the "trusted sites". The procedure to do this is also to be found in the document „Security settings for Windows XP", on page 6.
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