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Safe Computing on the Road

It's fairly easy to do this, and your operating system's help screen can guide you. It's usually found under the Properties screen of your Network Connection.

Step Three: Security Software

Be sure your laptop is loaded with the latest security software. The three most important ones are virus scanners, software firewalls and spyware scanners. And keep the files current by frequently running the update procedure.

If you're using a company-supplied laptop, it probably has the latest and greatest virus detection software. Some of the best are Symantec , Zone Alarm and McAfee . All three offer Internet security suites that include personal firewalls with virus detection, and free updates for a year.

Your laptop might not have specific antispyware programs installed, however. Two of my favorite ones, Ad-Aware Personal SE and Spybot Search and Destroy are free, so you don't have any excuse not to use them. I run both, as different software sometimes finds different bugs.

Step Four: Public Enemies

Be careful when using a shared computer in a hotel business center, on a conference floor or in a copy center. You don't know what kind of security software has been installed on the computer, so you can't assume your session will be private.

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