Tips to avoiding becoming a victim of a virus
As online attacks grow in number daily, we end users we are left in the dark on how to avoid becoming victims of one. To make matters worse, safety on the internet can be very deceiving. What may seem like a very reputable site, can sometimes contain a spyware trap; or may even be counterfeit - posing as the real thing but actually looking to lure users into a scam.
As users we want to stay safe and often believe that the anti-virus software on our computer can protect us. That may not be true, though - sometimes simply opening a web page or HTML email starts the installation of malware.
• You open a web browser and begin browsing
• You visit a site and unknowingly fall into a spyware trap disguised as:
o A pop up, even if all you do is close it
o A deceptive link that you follow
o A clickable graphic that leads you down a dangerous path
• As a result of your click, Spyware loads onto your PC without you even knowing
• Your computer is infected and your personal information is now at risk
Keep in mind that adult sites, file sharing sites, some social media sites and the similar sites often pose a higher risk for spyware.
Here are some tips to help reduce the risk of an attack:
Update Web browsers regularly and enable security features
Choose "Yes" when browser programs like Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Safari prompt you to update; current versions of these browsers protect you against security vulnerabilities in older versions
Adjust security settings for Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Safari browsers to warn you about annoying and potentially dangerous threats to your security, like popups, spyware, and malicious add-ons.
When you are out in public and using unsecured public WiFi hotspot make sure that you are not doing anything that contains personal information, such as banking, tax processing, or bill paying. If you use an unsecured network to log in to an unencrypted site — or a site that uses encryption only on the sign-in page — other users on the network can see what you see and what you send. They could hijack your session and log in as you. New hacking tools — available for free online — make this easy, even for users with limited technical know-how. Your personal information, private documents, contacts, family photos, and even your login credentials could be up for grabs.
Install protective software
Certain products protect against spyware and can safely be used with other antivirus programs.
There are programs that warn you if a web page might pose a risk to your security and helps you verify that a page you are about to visit is legitimate.
Guard personal information
Look for signs of an encrypted web page when providing sensitive personal information (credit card or banking information, SSNs, etc.) online; key identifiers include a URL for the Web site's login page that begins with "https" and a padlock icon in your browser status bar (the location of this icon will vary based on browser)
Be wary of Internet downloads
Streaming media Web sites might seem harmless, but watching or listening to streaming media may mean downloading a special media player that could contain malware
Downloaded files like software or other media can hide malware on your computer without your knowledge
If a download seems too good to be true, it probably is—don't risk it!
Please stay tuned for our May Technology Blog which will highlight tips for staying safe while emailing.
The West Hartford Chamber of Commerce Technology Committee
Erin Tracey: ETracey@thinkadnet.com
Dave Calibey: Dave@bigthunk.com
Tony Leesha: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lynn A. Rappaport: email@example.com