Security starts with you! Be careful what you download and from where!
- There are loads of free programs and services out there that people just love to download from. These are programs like BitTorrent, uTorrent, Kazaa, Imesh, etc. They quite often come bundled with lots of malware that will cause you significant problems. Misconfiguring these programs can leave you open to sharing personal and sensitive information from your PC (even passwords and financial information). Read this on how it has been used for identity theft:
You are downloading unknown/untested files which may be infected from unknown sources directly onto your PC and while these programs are running you are sharing your PC with the whole world since these programs will allow others access to your PC bypassing the firewall and other security programs. I strongly advise avoiding these programs and servers completely. But if you must use them, choose more wisely. See the below link which can help you make a more educated choice:
- Avoid installing services and applications which you do not use in your normal daily routines. It is not necessary for them to be loaded all the time. The above P2P programs are a great example of this. Many programs that auto-load at start-up can just be run on an as needed basis.
- Also it should go without saying but….avoid the porn sites! They are notorious spreaders of more than one kind of smut. In addition many porn (and some non-porn) sites that have various forms of videos that they are trying to get you to watch online or download and watch, are causing vast amounts of people to become infected. These infections typically occur because the trick you into downloading a codec required (supposedly) to view the videos. What you normally wind up with is an infection that is grouped into the SmitFraud aka Zlob family of infections! Thus, DO NOT DOWNLOAD CODECS from anywhere except from a reputable site like Major Geeks!
- Don’t download cracks, serial numbers, cheats etc for commercial programs. Besides being illegal, you will often find you are getting more than you bargained for (i.e. malware!!!!).
- Also be very careful to read popups before clicking on them. You probably do not want what they are selling and sometimes the correct answer may be the opposite of what you think. They will choose wording meant to confuse you.
- Do not open e-mails coming from unknown or distrusted sources. Many viruses and trojans spread via e-mail messages. You can always check with the originator to see if they sent something to you.
- Especially be careful with attachments. Do not open the attachments of messages with a suspicious or unexpected subject. If you want to open them, first save them to your hard disk and scan them with an updated antivirus program.
- Delete any chain e-mails or unwanted messages. Do not forward them or reply to their senders. This kind of messages is considered spam, because it is undesired and unsolicited and it congests the Internet even more than it already is. If you respond to their email where it says something like to be removed from our list, all you are doing is confirming your email address is valid and you just got yourself added to a load more spamming lists.
- Never add any site to your Trusted Sites Zone unless it is absolutely necessary to run something you really need (like for work).
- Finally, when installing any software, read the license agreement carefully before accepting. You may be surprised what you will find. Like thousands of people who had to have LOP infections and other malware removed from their PCs who did not read the license agreement in Messenger Plus (which is not related to Microsoft). Also make sure that you do not accept to install any “optional software” like toolbars or similar that frequently are package with free software. This is a common practice these days. Even antivirus/antispyware programs have the “optional” programs packaged into the installers and you have to read the info that comes up and tell it not to install them because the defaults are always to install.