You think having security software on your computer keeps you safe from Internet threats, right?

Well, don’t bet on it, as the appropriate software alone isn’t enough to ensure that you and your information will stay safe online. The kind of software you have, and your knowledge of threats and how to avoid them, is much more important than you might think.

In fact, you will probably be surprised to learn that many of the ideas people have about Internet safety are just myths. Check out the Top 5 Internet Safety Myths listed below to separate truth from fiction, and ensure that you know how to stay safe online:

Myth #1: Security software guarantees full protection when surfing online

In reality, security software protects your computer from threats and helps you with safe Internet surfing, but it can’t physically stop you from clicking on dangerous links that download spyware or adware, or takes you to phishing sites that try to trick you into revealing personal and financial information. To avoid these dangers, it helps to know about common threats and their telltale signs.

Myth #2: Anti-virus is all you need for protection

In reality, anti-virus software alone cannot protect you from the wide range of threats that exist on the Internet today, such as spam, identity theft, and malicious websites designed to steal your money and information. That is why it is important that you have comprehensive, updated and active security software, which offers protection beyond anti-virus and includes at least a two-way firewall, anti-spyware, phishing and spam protection, along with safe search functionality. In addition to security software, you have to use common sense if you want to truly avoid Internet threats since cybercriminals use popular topics and recent news events to trick you into clicking on links and downloading malware. Software alone cannot keep you from making risky decisions on the web.

Myth #3: Dangerous websites can be identified just by looking at them

In reality, cybercriminals have become extremely sophisticated in their ability to replicate authentic websites, such as banking sites. In fact, there are programs available on the Internet that allows cybercriminals with no programming knowledge to quickly replicate a site, down to the tiniest of details. While some dangerous websites still look sloppy - with fuzzy resolutions or incorrect grammar - others can look very convincing. On the other hand, a legitimate website that has been poorly designed can look dubious, even if it’s not. Your best bet is to stop the guesswork and use a safe search plug-in which warns you of potentially dangerous sites right in your search results.

Myth #4: What my friend sends me is safe to download

In reality, an online message may appear to be from a friend of yours but their email or social networking account could have been hijacked. The hacker could send out spam emails and dangerous downloads that appear to be coming directly from your friend. If you receive suspicious messages asking you to download a file or click on a link, even if it’s from a friend, use common sense and don’t click. You should also notify your friend if you think their account may have been compromised.

Myth #5: Free security software is just as good as the one you pay for

In reality, barely anything is really for free, although it’s tempting to believe so. Most free software providers are trying to hook you with a free product, only to try to get you to buy a paid version with more functionality. In addition, cybercriminals often hide viruses and malware in supposed “free security software,” hoping to trick users into downloading them.

When it comes to Internet and computer security, it doesn’t pay to skimp. In fact, you may end up paying more in the long run when your computer becomes infected or you lose valuable personal information. It’s better to go with a reputable security software provider that offers comprehensive protection at a fair price.