The Internet is like living in any large city. There is a limitless wealth of things to do and see, but there is also a seedy side to the Internet. A user can remain perfectly safe on the Internet by watching out for common techniques that are used to compromise your security. Some of these techniques fall into the category of “social engineering”, in which an attacker attempts to confuse and trick a user into giving up sensitive information.
Don’t Be on the Phishing Hook
One such socially engineered trick is known as “phishing.” If you’ve ever received an email or instant message identifying itself as a bank or ISP asking for your password, you may have been the target of a phishing scam. Some of these scams can be quite elaborate. In some cases, scam artists have been known to construct websites that are exact clones of an official service such as PayPal. You can avoid becoming a victim by never revealing sensitive information to someone over email or instant messaging. Type the website address directly into your browser bar.
Another such scam is known as the Nigerian, or 419 scam. A victim receives an email claiming to be from someone in possession of a great deal of money. This “wealthy” individual will, for various reasons, be unable to access the money without some kind of advance from someone. Once the money is received, the person on the other end will then send back a portion of the money in return. This money, of course, is never seen, and the scammer will reply that there has been some sort of problem and that more money is needed. There are limitless variations on this scam, so it’s prudent to simply ignore any kind of solicitation for money via email.
Speaking of money and the internet, it’s also important to take a look at where you might be shopping online. Doing your shopping online can be a safe and fun experience, but make sure to shop at reputable locations. Always ensure that the site is secure. You can do this by looking up at the address bar, which when in a secure area will appear with an orange hue to it. The “http” will also have an “s” added to it, indicating that the transmission is secure.
While on the Internet, you also need to be on the look out for spyware programs. Programs that remain hidden, collecting information about you and displaying unwanted advertisements, are categorized as spyware. Not only is this a huge privacy and security threat to you, it causes your computer to run slow .
The easiest way to become infected is when a spyware program piggybacks on another program, such as Kazaa or a disreputable registry cleaning program. You may think you’re installing just the program you want, when in reality spyware is also creeping in. Stay safe by doing a little reading up on programs you aren’t sure about. If a popular program comes bundled with spyware, chances are you can find out with a simple Google search on the program.
If you think you’re already infected, there are a number of security programs out there that can eliminate the pesky spyware. One excellent tool is LavaSoft’s Adaware. The free version of Adaware can usually detect any spyware you may have and eliminate the threat.
You can avoid most trouble by trusting only what you know. Don’t open strange emails, and be careful with random websites that have a lot of popups. By practicing just a few common sense tips like this, you can save yourself a headache.
Slowcomputerhelp.com , a website that offers an ebook on easy, visual steps to fix your slow computer . It also includes a chapter on viruses and spyware, and steps on how to effectively clean and elimate them.