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Staying Malware Free: By Sean Wichers

Today, more than ever is is necessary to be aware of the threats that lurk around on the web.  The internet is absolutely filled with scammers looking for easy targets.  The key here is to educate yourself enough to not become a dollar sign in the eyes of a trickster. Don’t be a victim, use these tips for staying virus free.

Antivirus

Choosing the right Antivirus software is mandatory if you are looking to keep your computer in good working order.  A computer left unprotected is a computer soon to be infected.  The good thing is there are many free programs out there that can cover all of your bases.  Here are a few things to remember:

  • Never have more than one antivirus program running at a time.  By design they are reasonably intrusive and stand to bog your computer down.  Running more than one pretty much guarantees a noticeable hindrance in performance.
  • Protect yourself before it becomes a problem.  Many of the new malware on the net can be extremely difficult to remove once infected, so your best bet is to protect yourself early and block the threats live.

Software Updates

As much as I hate to say it, there is benefit in installing approved software updates.  Software manufacturers are constantly finding and fixing vulnerabilities in their products, especially Microsoft.  Staying up to date on updates will minimize your risk of being targeted.

Web Browsers

The web browser you choose to use has a major impact on your risk for infection.  Most people use the standard browsers for their respective operating system, such as Internet Explorer and Safari.  Virus and Malware makers know this and choose to manufacture their products to hit the widest scope of users.  This is not to say that you are completely safe in using programs such as Chrome or Firefox, but your chances of survival are far better.

Email

Scammers and hackers often use email as a way of finding unwilling participants in their illegal endeavors.  The reason being the use of email is fairly universal with computer users.  Most of the popular websites today require an email address as a prerequisite to becoming a member.  There are several things to watch out for when looking through your inbox.

Sender

By looking at the address that the email originated from it is often easy to deduce whether or not a message is legitimate.  For example, if you are looking at an email that is supposedly from Wells Fargo, but the “From” address says 123qweasd@wfargo.co.uk, you can be reasonably certain this email is fraudulent.

Expectancy

Are you expecting correspondence from the said person or company? If not, a red flag should raise right away.  Many hackers and scammers have become very crafty in finding out who their victims are, and using this against you.  Just do a simple google search of your name and behold the treasure trove of information that is available.  It is very easy for attackers to do a bit of research and figure out what sites your belong to, and who you are likely to trust correspondence from. With that being said, spoofing the “From” address of an email is simple if you know what you are doing, so expectancy alone can not be relied on. However, when used with the rest of the tips on this page it is a great tool to have on your belt.

Use Your Brain

Common sense is always your best tool:

  • Stay away from sites hosting adult material, warez, serials and all other questionable material if at all possible.  If you must indulge, do so safely and be sure and have an ad blocker and script blocker running at all times.  See Staying Safe While Living Dangerously On The Web for more information
  • Never trust a pop up exclaiming that “Your Computer Is Infected!”  Your computer may not be infected now, but it sure will be once you do what the pop up asks of you
  • Get in the habit of reading what you check, “I Agree” to.  You will be suprised what you actually are consenting to.

 

More Coming Soon

Check out the Technology section of Sean Wichers site for more information

 

 

 

Thanks for reading,

Sean Wichers