If you’re among the tens of thousands of people falling prey to computer viruses and other forms of malware, it’s because you’re using the internet wrong. The internet is so full of spyware, trojans, worms, and other malicious programs that you can hardly take two steps without getting your feet dirty. Luckily, most of these nasty infections can be avoided with a little education on how stay safe on the internet.
Have an up-to-date anti-virus program
Most people know this and have one already; if you’re not among them it’s time to get on the boat! Anti-virus doesn’t have to cost any money: AVG, Avast! and Microsoft Security Essentials are all terrific security programs and they don’t charge a dime! Antivirusif you don’t have one, follow one of these links below and get one:
Keep away from sketchy websites
Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t feel comfortable visiting in person, don’t go there online. Porn websites, pirating or file-sharing websites, and scam websites almost always have some kind of malware built in somewhere and often-times your anti-virus will be none-the-wiser.
One of the most common types of malware, called a Trojan, can piggyback it’s way to your PC with some other, perfectly benign bit of data. Once into your system it can install itself and go about its business in peace. Some even actively target and disable antivirus programs to prevent themselves from being caught!
These programs can do all kinds of things like: logging into your email to spam your friends with Viagra ads, deleting or destroying important files, or recording your keystrokes to capture passwords or credit card information. Your computer is at risk from an attack like this anytime it downloads a file, much more so if that file is from a less-than-trustworthy source. Since your web-browser is constantly downloading small bits of data as cookies and running tiny scripted programs as part of its normal operation, just visiting a sketchy website can be enough to infect your computer with a virus.
With so much malware coming in so many ways, the best way to stay virus-free is to keep to the tried and tested parts of the internet! If you’re not sure about a particular site, look for reviews, testimonials, and such. Or, better yet, just don’t go there! The internet is a big place and there are likely other, more reputable sites offering the same thing.
Beware of reputable sites that allow sketchy third parties
I’m looking at you Facebook! While not in themselves dangerous, some established websites allow third party applications to work through them. Facebook is a prime example since it serves as host to hundreds of apps like Farmville, which work as tiny computer programs displayed within your web browser.
These programs can function just as those trojans I talked about before, waltzing right past your anti-virus and wrecking havoc! Choose carefully which invitations you accept and which you let pass; if there’s one you can’t pass up, do a quick Google search, that’s what Google is there for!
Using the internet correctly is the very best way to keep your computer in good shape. While anti-virus programs remain a must-have for the day-to-day. they are not enough to protect you from the nastier bugs sticking to the underbelly of the beast we call the internet. Treat web safety like you do real life safetystay in well lit areas, don’t talk to strangers, and all that jazz and you’ll be just fine!