Top Eleven Tips for Safe Computing
Probably the greatest threat to the security of your computer system is ...
human behavior. Let's face it, we humans do stupid things! A majority of the
viruses, bugs, spyware, spam and other nasties can be avoided or reduced by
modifying our behavior on the Internet. Read the following 11 suggestions for
practicing safe surfing:
1. Do not visit shady looking web sites. (You know the ones I mean!)
2. Do not click on links in pop-up windows. Even if they tell you that your pc
is infected or has a problem that you must fix immediately! It's a scam.
Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera browsers feature pop-up blockers - be sure
to turn them on.
3. Do not click on links in emails. If you really wish to visit the site shown,
type it in the address bar of your web browser by hand. It's probably a good
idea when entering the web address to ignore any characters to the right of .com
(or .net, .org, etc.).
4. Do not respond to spam (junk email) - just delete it. If you respond, then
you are telling the spammer that he has reached a valid email address. Never
click on any links that say something like "To unsubscribe, click here". That's
just what they want you to do.
5. Do not respond to or click on links in emails that look exactly like email
from your bank, credit card company, retail stores, insurance companies, etc..
This is called phishing.
Phishing is the act of sending an email to a user falsely claiming to be a
legitimate enterprise? This is an attempt to scam the user into surrendering
private information that will be used for identity theft. The email directs the
user to visit a web site where they are asked to update personal information,
such as passwords and credit card, social security, and bank account numbers,
that the legitimate organization already has.
The web site is bogus and set up only to steal the user's information. Once you
visit their site, they'll try to get private data from you, like passwords.
These web sites can look identical to your own trusted sites. If you really wish
to visit the site shown, type it in the address bar of your web browser by hand.
When in doubt, call the institution on the phone.
6. Do not open attachments in emails, even from friends. Certain viruses can
access someone's address book and copy the email addresses found there. Then
they can send you email that looks exactly like it came from your Aunt Tilly
using a technique called address spoofing. If you need someone to email you an
attachment, make sure they tell you about it first or request it from them in advance.
7. Do not use your home or primary email address to fill out forms or subscribe
to services on the Internet. Get a free email account from Google or Yahoo for these purposes.