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.

Most types of antivirus software can be set up to update automatically.

Spyware is just what it sounds like—software that is surreptitiously installed on your computer to let others peer into your activities on the computer.

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.

Computer Hacking: Peer-to-Peer networks also have been abused by hackers.

Because these systems potentially expose your computer and files to millions of other users on the network, they also expose your computer to worms and viruses.

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.

Peer-to-Peer networks allow users connected to the Internet to link their computers with other computers around the world.

These networks are established for the purpose of sharing files.

Software firewalls are widely recommended for single computers.