5.About Internet Security

Malware is a software designed to infiltrate or damage your computer system without you knowing it. Also known as malicious software.

Even if you're careful, you can pick up malware through normal Internet activities:

  • Visit any media-supported Web site and you're bound to get a tracking cookie.

  • Share music, files or photos with other users.

  • Install software applications without fully reading license agreements.

First, you should use a scan program designed for malware detection to see if you're infected. Once you know your infection level, you'll be able to take back control of your computer.

Second, you can try to remove the malware manually, but removal is a difficult and complicated process for even the most experienced computer user. Without recognized, top-quality anti-malware software, malware removal will be incomplete at best.

Third, choose a malware protection solution. A complete anti-malware software package includes anti-spyware software and anti-virus protection and should be fortified with a firewall. Look for these qualities when selecting an anti-malware software solution:

  • Provides frequent version and definition updates to combat the latest threats.

  • Consistently wins awards from industry-leading publications.

  • Has a dedicated, round-the-clock research team devoted to keeping track of malware evolution.

  • Is backed by an innovative company with a solid business reputation.

  • Increase your browser security settings.

  • Update your security patches regularly.

  • Avoid questionable Web sites.

  • Be suspicious of email and IM.

  • Use public or multiple-user computers with extreme caution.

  • Beware of peer-to-peer file sharing services.

  • Use a firewall.

  • Use anti-virus protection.

  • Use a good anti-spyware product.

If you use a computer, you're exposed to malware infection. In fact, nine out of ten Internet-connected PCs are infected with spyware that can:

  • Open your PC to identity theft.

  • Expose your personal information and private accounts.

  • Corrupt your hard drive.

  • Share your passwords and user names.

  • Regular definition updates

  • Refined malware detection

  • Proactive protection

  • Designated threat research team

  • Customer service

  • Easy-to-use interface

  • Stable company to back up the software

There are several easy ways to tell the difference between legitimate programs and rogue applications:

  • Trustworthy anti-malware programs do not advertise in pop-up ads or on questionable Web sites, such as gambling or pornographic sites.

  • Any security application that appears on your machine that you did not knowingly download or install is questionable, and is likely an illegitimate program.

  • The program’s scan results should tip you off. Rogue anti-spyware programs will report legitimate files and processes as spyware to scare you into thinking that you have several spies on your PC.

  • Enter the product’s name in your favorite search engine, if results such as “Remove product name” appear, it is probably a questionable application.

Adware is any software application that has the ability to display advertisements on your computer. Some adware can track your surfing habits to display targeted promotions on your Web browser in the form of pop-up, pop-under and banner ads.

Adware watches as you surf the Internet to collect information about your behavior. Then adware disrupts your browsing by popping up context-related promotions right on top of your screen, causing you to second guess your next online move.  Adware runs quietly in the background of your computer, observing your every move. It logs your online activities and personal information to create a user profile and sends it to a data collection site. From there, your data is used to evaluate your surfing habits and send you targeted advertising.

Your PC may be infected with adware if you experience these symptoms:

  • Sluggish PC performance

  • An increase in pop-up, pop-under or banner ads

  • Frequent computer crashes

  • Puzzling search results

In general, adware is attached to an intentionally installed program. Freeware is one of the most common ways adware is installed on a machine. Installers of freeware unwittingly sign up for an infinite supply of pop-up ads. 

First, you should use a spy scan program designed for spyware detection to see if you're infected. Once you know your infection level, you'll be able to take back control of your computer.

Second, you can try to remove the spyware manually, but removal is a difficult and complicated process for even the most experienced computer user. Without recognized, top-quality anti-spyware software, spyware removal will be incomplete at best.

Third, choose a spyware protection solution. A complete anti-spyware software package includes anti-spyware software, anti-virus protection and a firewall. Look for these qualities when selecting an anti-spyware software solution:

  • Provides frequent version and definition updates to combat the latest threats. 

  • Consistently wins awards from industry-leading publications.

  • Has a dedicated, round-the-clock research team devoted to tracking spyware evolution.

  • Is backed by an innovative company with a solid business reputation.

Browser hijacker spyware resets your homepage so each time you launch your browser you land on the site it wants you to. Fraudsters use this method to force hits to their websites, since most sites have ads. More hits means higher costs for advertising, and ultimately more money for the spyware-toting villain. Browser hijackers are more than just annoying:  the spyware they carry can cause irreparable damage to your files and programs as well as jeopardize your personal information and identity.

Identity theft is the criminal abuse of consumers' personal identifiers. The main concern for consumers is financial crimes exploiting their credit worthiness to commit loan fraud, mortgage fraud, lines-of-credit fraud, credit card fraud, commodities and services frauds. Many people associate identity theft with having a wallet or purse stolen. But your computer is fast becoming the most likely place where your identity can be stolen.

Computer crashes happen when a program (either an application or part of the operating system) stops performing its expected function and stops responding to other parts of the system. Often the offending program may simply appear to freeze. If your computer shuts down frequently, detect spyware. Malicious threats may be at work, tracking your activities and stealing personal information.

Pop-ups are a form of online advertising intended to increase Web traffic or capture email addresses. These online ads come in many forms, but generally they want to sell you something. While many pop-up ads from reputable companies are harmless, the adware programs that generate illegitimate pop-ups are capable of installing spyware to hijack your browser and capture your personal information.

Sluggish performance of vital computer programs, like your operating system or Internet browser, is usually caused by spyware infection that consumes a substantial amount of computer memory, leaving limited resources for other legitimate programs to use.

There are a few simple things you can do right away to help prevent further spyware infection and reclaim your homepage:

  • Continually check the accuracy of personal documents and deal with any discrepancies right away.

  • Avoid clicking on pop-ups, even to close them. Instead, close pop-ups from the system tray area with a right mouse click.

  • Update your operating system regularly.

  • Increase your browser security settings.

  • Avoid questionable Web sites.

  • Only download software from sites you trust.

  • Practice safe email protocol: don't open messages from unknown senders and immediately delete messages you suspect to be spam.

  • Use public computers with extreme caution.

  • Beware of peer-to-peer file sharing services.

  • Avoid file-sharing applications.

  • Use anti-virus protection and a firewall.

  • Get anti-spyware software protection.

Spam is unsolicited commercial email. It's sent, usually in bulk, through "open-relays" to millions of people. Spam is cost-shifted advertising. It takes a toll on Internet users' time, their resources, and the resources of Internet Service Providers (ISP). Most recently, spammers have begun to send advertisements via text message to cell phones.

To prevent spam, use a spam filter or gateway to scan inbound messages. One simple way you can prevent spam damage is to practice safe email protocol:

  • Don't open email or text messages from unknown senders.

  • Immediately delete message you suspect are spam.

  • Avoid get rich quick offers, porn or too-good-to-be-true messages.

Think of a biological virus – the kind that makes you sick. It’s persistently nasty, keeps you from functioning normally and often requires something powerful to get rid of it. A computer virus delivered over the Internet is very similar. Designed to relentlessly replicate, viruses infect your computer programs and files, alter the way your computer operates or stop it from working altogether.

Take these steps to fortify your computer security against viruses right away:

  • Use anti-virus protection and a firewall.

  • Update your operating system regularly.

  • Increase your browser security settings.

  • Avoid questionable Web sites.

  • Only download software from sites you trust.

  • Practice safe email protocol: don't open messages from unknown senders and immediately delete messages you suspect to be spam.

  • Avoid file-sharing applications.

  • Get anti-spyware software protection.

Phishing is an online con game played by tech-savvy con artists and identify thieves. They use spam, malicious Web sites, email and instant messages to trick you into divulging sensitive information, like bank account passwords and credit card numbers.

Take these steps to fortify your computer security against phishing scams right away:

  • Do not provide personal information to any unsolicited requests for information.

  • Only provide personal information on sites that have "https" in the web address or have a lock icon at bottom of the browser.

  • If you suspect you’ve received phishing bait, contact the company that is the subject of the email by phone to check that the message is legitimate.

  • Type in a trusted URL for a company's site into the address bar of your browser to bypass the link in a suspected phishing message.

  • Use varied and complex passwords for all your accounts.

  • Continually check the accuracy of personal documents and deal with any discrepancies right away.

People, not computers, create computer threats. Predators victimize others for their own gain. Give a predator access to the Internet – and likely to your PC -- and the threat they pose to your security increases exponentially. Hackers are programmers who break into computer systems in order to steal, change or destroy information. Their clever tactics and detailed technical knowledge help them access information you really don’t want them to have.

Anyone who uses a computer connected to the Internet is susceptible to the threats hackers and predators pose. Hackers typically use phishing scams, spam email or instant messages and bogus Web sites to deliver spyware to your computer and compromise your computer security. Predators monitor your chat room conversations or peruse your personal Web page. Usually disguised with a bogus identity, predators can lure you into revealing sensitive personal and financial information, or much worse.

To combat online predators:

  • Continually check the accuracy of personal documents and deal with any discrepancies right away.

  • Use extreme caution when entering chat rooms or posting personal Web pages.

  • Limit the personal information you post on a personal Web pages.

  • Carefully monitor requests by online “friends” or acquaintances for predatory behavior.

  • Keep personal and financial information out of online conversations.

  • Use extreme caution when agreeing to meet an online “friend” or acquaintance in person.