How to protect your computer
Most people know them as viruses but there are different kinds of programs that can infect your computer. Some of them are deliberately malicious to your computer system but most nowadays are designed to be invisible, so they can use your system to perform other tasks.
The collective name for these programs is Malware.
Internet Security Issue: Malware
Examples of Malware are:
- Keylogging software that reads your keyboard strokes and sends them to a hacker – this is a way to get password and personal information directly from your computer
- Zombie programs that use your system to send spam emails to others, store illegal images on your computer or overload websites in an extortion attempt
- Spyware programs that collect information about the sites you visit for advertisers
Internet Security Issue: Trojan Horses
Trojan horses are not types of Malware, strictly speaking – they’re a method for getting Malware on to your computer. They work by concealing themselves in other programs that you might choose to download and run.
To protect yourself from these you need:
- Good anti-virus and firewall software
- Don’t click on pop-ups
- Often clicking a button on a pop-up will run the program the Trojan resides in. Some of these are cleverly designed to make you think they are from a legitimate source – like Microsoft, your anti-virus, internet banking etc. A recent virus that looked like an anti-virus company detecting a virus in people’s computers caused havoc amongst many people who hadn’t encountered anything like it before. Legitimate websites don’t use questionable ethical tactics to attract their business.
- Read the terms and conditions. Sometimes the Trojan will be listed as a term of use, thereby making you responsible for installing it into your own computer! This is largely used for information-gathering, selling your details on – this is one of the easiest ways to start getting spam.
Anti-virus and firewall software is big business – you simply must have them to use the internet safely. There are a variety of free packages available that do a great job. Look for an impartial comparison webpage to help yourself choose one. Cnet is a reliable comparison website that has reviews from its editors as well as its thousands of subscribers http://download.cnet.com/windows/
Internet Security Issue: Firewall Software
Firewall software is now often packaged with anti-virus software. A firewall stops unauthorised connections between your computer and other computers on the internet. Using a firewall prevents other programs collecting information from your computer or using your computer for other tasks. A firewall literally stops nasty programs before they infect your computer. Each Anti-Virus program will have various settings for your firewall based on your internet use.
With our lives revolving around the internet these days the stakes are high for hackers to gain access to our computers. We need to be be more savvy than ever when it comes to internet security and that means using multiple means of protection.