Wondering how to protect yourself from malicious software? The Internet has many benefits and has opened so many doors. Who would have thought in the 80′s that in twenty years we’d be able to “Skype” with our friend thousands of miles away? We wouldn’t even know what “skype” meant for that matter!
Like most other new technologies, there is a downside to the Internet as well; spyware, adware, trojan horses, computer viruses, keyloggers, identity theft….The list goes on and on. Cyber criminals are using malicious software to steal your identity; leading you to becoming the next victim of identity theft, one of the fastest growing crimes in Canada and the USA. Don’t despair just yet. It is good to know that there are steps to take to protect your computer from malicious software.
Install anti-virus software: This is the first line of defense against computer viruses and other malicious software. Many of the Internet security vendors, such as Kaspersky and Norton, offer fully functional free trials of anti-virus software. AVG AntiVirus is free as well. Remember that your anti-virus software is only as good as the last update. Make sure you run a “full system scan” on a regular basis as well.
Install anti-spyware software: Anti-virus software does a great job at detecting and removing computer viruses, but does not detect all spyware. To protect yourself from malicious software, including spyware, it is important to have anti-spyware software installed. There is reputable free anti-spyware software available for download, such as SpyBot Search & Destroy. All they ask is for a donation.
Install anti-keylogger software: Keyloggers are malicious software that silently records every keystroke that you type and even captures screen shots. This can lead you to becoming a victim of identity theft. Anti-virus software only detects some keystroke loggers. Anti-spyware software fares better, detecting most, but certainly not all keyloggers. You need anti-keylogger software to detect and block keyloggers. I use and recommend Zemana AntiLogger. Please CLICK HERE for a fully functional free trial of Zemana AntiLogger.
Have a firewall: A firewall acts as a barrier between your computer and the Internet; keeping hackers out and stopping malicious software already installed on your computer from sending personal info to cyber criminals. ZoneAlarm offers a free firewall, available for download online. Windows XP, Vista, and 7 all include an absolutely free firewall; ensure it is activated.
Avoid visiting sites containing pornography, shareware, freeware, warez, file sharing, and the like: These sites are notorious for containing malicious software. You very well may be getting more than you bargained for with that pirated “free movie” you downloaded.
Don’t open email attachments from unkown senders: In fact, even if you know the sender, be leery if you are not expecting the attachment or it looks unfamiliar. Their email account could be compromised or someone could be spoofing their email address. The attachment could be infected with malware, such as a trojan horse, spyware, or keylogger.
Be cautious when using flash drives, floppy disks, and CD-ROM’s: Be especially careful when using someone elses or yours in another computer. They could spread a virus, keylogger, trojan horse, spyware, or other malicious software to your computer. Be sure to scan a flash drive, etc., used in another compute,r with anti-virus software.