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Software firewalls are widely recommended for single computers.

The downside is that being “always on” renders computers more susceptible.Beyond firewall protection, which is designed to fend off unwanted attacks, turning the computer off effectively severs an attacker’s connection—be it spyware or a botnet that employs your computer’s resources to reach out to other unwitting users.The same advice parents might deliver to young drivers on their first solo journey applies to everyone who wants to navigate safely online.A special agent in our Cyber Division offered the following: A firewall helps protect your computer from hackers who might try to gain access to crash it, delete information, or even steal passwords or other sensitive information.To report potential e-scams, please go the Internet Crime Complaint Center and file a report.

Note: The FBI does not send mass e-mails to private citizens about cyber scams, so if you received an e-mail that claims to be from the FBI Director or other top official, it is most likely a scam.The FBI has asked industry associations and companies that are particularly concerned with intellectual property theft to report to the FBI—for possible criminal investigation and prosecution—anyone that they have reason to believe is violating federal copyright law.Child Exploitation and Obscenity: The receipt or distribution of child pornography and unlawful obscenity over the Internet also is a serious federal crime.The FBI cautions parents and guardians that, because there is no age restriction for the use of Peer-to-Peer services, pornography of all types is easily accessible by the many young children whose parents mistakenly believe they are only accessing music or movies.In fact, children may be exposed to pornography—and subsequently lured by sexual predators—even though they were not searching for pornography, as some network users deliberately mislabel the names of files for this purpose.Typically, users of Peer-to-Peer networks install free software on their computers which allows them (1) to find and download files located on another Peer-to-Peer user's hard drive, and (2) to share with those other users files located on their own computer.