Around 30,000 new malicious and potentially undesirable programs appear every day, according to security researchers at Kaspersky Lab.
Yet many within a generation of digital natives are living online without being aware of the dangers of the internet, the security firm said to mark World Information Society Day (WISD).
Using social networks, banking and shopping online have become part of the everyday lives of millions of people around the world, with 400 million signed up to social networking site Facebook.
WISD was declared by the UN in 2005 to raise global awareness of societal changes brought about by the internet and new technologies.
While up-to-date protective software is essential for every web user, it is particularly important for those who spend a lot of time interacting with others via the internet, said Kaspersky Lab.
Failing to use this type of software enables malware to take up residence on your computer, where it can intercept your login information for social networks and other services, researchers at the firm said.
|Tips for a secure digital life
- Keep Windows and third-party applications up-to-date.
- Back up your data regularly to a CD, DVD or external USB drive.
- Do not respond to e-mail or social media messages if you do not know the sender.
- Do not click on e-mail attachments or objects sent via social networks if you do not know the sender.
- Do not click on links in e-mail or instant messaging (IM) messages. Type addresses directly into your web browser.
- Do not give out personal information in response to an e-mail, even if the e-mail looks official.
- Only shop or bank on secure sites. These URLs start with 'https://' and you will see a gold padlock in the lower right-hand corner of your browser.
- Use a different password for each website or service you use and make sure it consists of more than five characters and contains numerals, special characters and upper-case and lower-case letters. Do not re-use passwords or make them easy to guess. Do not tell anyone your passwords.
- Make sure you share your child's online experience and install parental control software to block inappropriate content.
- Install internet security software and keep it updated.