Stay Safe Online
The websites you visit may have hidden dangers. Some disreputable websites contain viruses disguised as legitimate downloads and pop-ups that install malware. Make sure you download files only from trusted sites.
Checking security certificates before entering personal information online helps to ensure that the website is legitimate. Also, be aware that there are sites that mimic legitimate websites to steal your data.
Think Before You Click!
In today's age of instant gratification, we're used to clicking on anything and everything - we want our content and we want it now. However, one of the most common causes of virus attacks, spyware, and identity theft is carelessness and misplaced trust. Are you sure you know what's beyond the link you just clicked or the attachment you just opened? A little healthy suspicion can go a long way. Here are some guidelines:
- Don't open that attachment. Virus writers love email. By preying on people's trust and curiosity, they convince users to infect themselves! Never open an email attachment that you aren't expecting, even if it looks like it comes from someone you know.
- Emails lie: Scammers can easily craft authentic looking emails from your bank, your ISP, eBay, or practically any other organization. If it asks for personal information or requires you to click on an email link to login, it's usually a scam.
- Don't blindly click 'Yes': Clicking "Yes" on annoying dialog boxes will make them go away, but it also may install unwanted spyware on your computer. Take the time to read dialog boxes and if you don't know what it is or don't understand what it's asking you to do, hit "No."
Email spam is often harmless, but some spammers disguise messages to look like legitimate email. You should never download attachments from unfamiliar sources or send passwords over email.
Remember that organizations such as PayPal or your bank will never ask for account numbers, passwords, or other sensitive data over email.
Spyware and Malware
Malware is malicious software that hinders your computer's performance and may be installed without your knowledge. It is generally difficult to remove from your computer.
Spyware is a type of malware that is used to siphon personal information from your computer.
An antivirus program is essential, but will not guarantee protection against spyware and malware. Being cautious about what you download and what websites you visit will help you avoid these risks.
Use discretion and do a little research before downloading anti-spyware programs that you find online.
Here are some tips:
- Look at the website of the anti-spyware website, and read a few of their descriptions and introductions. Most of the fake anti-spyware websites will be full of spelling errors and poor English.
- Search the name of the anti-spyware on google.com and see what other comments were made for the program.
- Do not install any programs that make you uneasy and/or that seem suspicious to you. Trust your intuition.