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TalkTalk has used social media to reiterate the importance of taking IT security precautions when using the internet.

Through its Twitter feed, the broadband provider urged consumers to take all necessary precautions when going online - such as the use of firewalls and anti-virus software.

"Viruses and spyware are online nasties no one wants to encounter," TalkTalk tweeted. "We've got a handy guide to help protect you."

In its security guide, the firm said there are "many simple ways" for consumers to protect themselves against falling victim to either a virus or spyware.

"The best way to avoid catching a virus or downloading spyware is to be careful and sensible while on the web," TalkTalk said.

The broadband provider warned against clicking on links on friends’ social network profiles, unless they are sure of the source.

"This is a common way for spyware to spread," the firm noted.

"If a link is promising an offer, story or picture that feels too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t click it - it’s likely to be a scam."

TalkTalk also warned against opening attachments in emails unless you know who sent them.

"Even then, be wary because viruses can send you a message that looks like it has come from an email address you know, such as a family member’s," it added.

"You might feel you’re being helpful passing on an email warning of a virus, but you’re not. Often these are invented by cybercriminals to trick people into clicking links that do contain harmful elements."

TalkTalk said parents should educate their children at a young age about the dangers of viruses and spyware.

"As they grow up, they are more likely to accidentally cause you an infection when their curiosity gets the better of them, and they select something they shouldn’t," the firm noted.

Finally, TalkTalk urged companies to back-up their files.  

"If a virus strikes, once it is removed from your hard drive, you can then put everything back where it belongs without losing anything," the firm stated.

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