There is endless amount of software that can be downloaded from the Internet-sometimes at no charge. However, these programs can contain viruses and spyware. Programs should only be downloaded from secure Web sites. A Web site security certificate indicates that the site is secure and genuine. Before downloading content from a Web site, you can check the certificate to verify that the software is coming from a known, reliable source.

How do I check to see if the Web site has a security certificate?

Your Web browser verifies the security certificate. For example, in Internet Explorer, you set your security levels at low, medium or high. Depending on the security setting, a window will open with the security certificate information and prompt you to reauthorize the download.

Is it safe to download free content or software?

Yes-if the site is secure. However, downloading from a free site, particularly an "adult" Web site, is risky. To view images, you may be prompted to download a special "viewer" or "dialer." These dialers then disconnect your Internet connection and reconnect your computer to an international long-distance phone carrier where calls are made to foreign countries at extraordinarily high rates.

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