The Internet has proven to be a powerful and useful tool for billions of people worldwide. However, in the same way that you shouldn’t leave your house unlocked, you shouldn’t venture online without taking some basic precautions as almost 50% of PC users have experienced some computer security issues in the past two years. When do you start? Learn more about online threats and way to protect yourself.
Short for malicious software, this is a type of unwanted software that is installed without your consent. Viruses, worms and trojan horses are examples of the malicious software referred to as malware.
Criminals, such as black hat hackers, who use malevolent programs on a computer and the Internet to commit illegal activity. This can be breaking into computers an stealing personal / corporate data or disruption operations, among many others.
A Trojan horse is a destructive computer program that masquerades itself as a benign file or application (such as .jpg or .doc). It then open up a “backdoor” or access to your PC without your knowledge.
A botnet is a large network of compromised computers. A “bot” is a malicious software that enables cybercriminals to control your computer without your knowledge and use it execute illegal activities, such as send out spam, spread viruses, etc.
Harmful computer programs that are designed to spread from one computer to another and interfere with computer operations. A virus can corrupt or delete data on your computer and damage your hard drive.
This self-replicating malicious computer program uses a computer network to send copies to itself to other computers on the same network. Unlike a virus, it doesn’t need to attach itself to an existing program. Worms almost always cause some damage to a network.
Spyware, which can be legitimate software, monitors a user’s online activity and collects various personal information, such as internet surfing habits, etc. It is difficult to detect spyware.
Phishing is a type of online identity theft that uses email and fraudulent websites designed to steal your personal data or information, such as credit card numbers, passwords, account data, or other information.
– At a minimum, protect your computer with a two-way firewall and antivirus or anti-spyware software.
– Keep your computer software up-to-date with the latest security patches.
– Create strong, unique passwords.
– Beware of open, insecure wi-fi networks. It’s best not to connect to them.
– Trust your gut instincts! Don’t click on suspicious links, attachments and downloads. Always go to reputable sites directly to login to accounts or download software.