The Internet is certainly a fantastic resource for families and offers a rich vein of educational content.
However, there are potential dangers: welcome to the sordid world of viruses, spam, Trojans, pornography, spyware, and other nasties.
These are the Top Twelve Threats No Computer User Should Ignore.
1. Viruses – A computer program that copies itself. They often disrupt your computer system or corrupt your data. Viruses are usually received in email attachments, so be careful when opening anything from a questionable source. They can affect anyone, for example, the destructive Mydoom worm affected one in three small and medium-sized businesses.
2. Spyware – Send information about you and your computer to someone else. Spyware can send the addresses of the sites you have visited or, worse, transmit personal information. With current concerns about identity theft, this is a real concern. For example, CoolWebSearch can hijack Internet Explorer web searches, home page, and other settings. Spyware is typically received as shareware or freeware downloaded from the web.
3. IP spoofing – A technique to gain unauthorized access to computers, whereby the intruder sends messages to a computer with an address that indicates that the message is from a trusted host.
4. Trojans – A seemingly legitimate computer program that actually intends to disrupt and damage computer activity by sending information, perhaps even passwords, to a third party without your knowledge. As an example, recent emails titled “Osama Bin Laden Captured” attempted to download the “Trj / Small.B”. Trojan if embedded URL was clicked. This Trojan tries to hijack the PC.
5. Spam – Unsolicited mail that often promotes products of a dubious financial or sexual nature. Do not leave your email address on websites and Internet bulletin boards, as they are collected by spammers.
6. Adware – puts ads on your screen. These take many forms, including pop-ups, pop-ups, and advertisements that appear later, even if your browser is closed. Some are delivered via the Windows Messenger service, which allows a spammer to target an advertisement directly to your computer by sending messages sequentially to IP addresses. Always irritating, they are also often pornographic in nature.
7. Bookmarks – For those of us who still have dial-up modems, dial-up programs redirect calls to a very expensive number. You will not know until you receive the invoice.
8. Kidnappers – Hijackers take control of your web browser and can reset your home page, search bar and search pages. They can redirect you to unwanted sites or prevent you from going to specific sites.
9. Hackers – With so much personal data available online to anyone with a password, you need to make sure your password is secure. If you are using your mother’s maiden name, your cat’s name, or your date of birth, your password is at risk. Here are two tips for creating a strong password. Method One: Pick two random three-letter, two-digit words that are not related. Mix them up and what do you have? A strong password such as “red19cat” or “hotpin73”. Method two: choose a short sequence of words like “Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious” and you have the password “nitwoodmg”. You could even change the I’s and O’s to digits.
10. Phishing – Emails claiming to come from trusted sources such as Paypal, eBay, or your bank. Often wanting you to verify your account details, they may seem very realistic, but they are generally scams to collect usernames and passwords. Always open a new browser and type the address there, instead of clicking on the link provided.
11. Deception – Chain letters, scams, false alarms. At best, they consume time and bandwidth, but at worst, the vulnerable can be victims of fraud. Pass it on!
12. Stranger-danger – For those of us with children, do you know what they really do when they are online? Are they working on homework, downloading illegal music or pornography? Or are they chatting with strangers in chat rooms? You should consider blocking access to unwanted sites and recording their activity with a surveillance tool. Oh, and don’t forget that when it comes to kids, computers should always be kept in a family room and never in your bedroom.
Three-step action plan
There are three basic and essential steps that must be followed to ensure that your PC remains threat-free.
Firstly Be sensible about opening attachments or following email instructions from seemingly reputable sites.
in second place Be sure to use the latest Windows service pack, as Microsoft continually closes the loopholes to tighten security.
Finally, A variety of inexpensive tools are available such as firewalls, antivirus, spam blockers, and spyware killers. Like everything else, they vary in quality and you tend to get what you pay for, so always do your research first and maybe try a free trial before pulling out your credit card.