Tip 30: Online Security

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Keeping your computer and your personal information safe from attack is vitally important when using the internet, as threats can come in from any direction.New threats are designed and implemented everyday, forcing the people who help protect you from attack to quickly foil the new threats that present themselves.


Computer viruses are the most well known of the internet threats.They can infect your computer with any number of outcomes.Some viruses will change your settings and slow your computer down.These are nuisance viruses that are designed purely to cause trouble.Some viruses, known as Trojans, disguise themselves to infiltrate your computer, sending back information to the person who created the virus.These viruses are aptly named after the famous Trojan Horse which allowed the Greeks to infiltrate the city of Troy and throw open the gates to allow the bulk of the Greek army in to sack the great city. Just like Troy, your computer can fall if these viruses are allowed to infect it.The most damaging viruses of all are the ones that are simply designed to cause as much destruction as possible, deleting important files and turning your computer into a useless wreck.

To protect your computer from the threat viruses prevent, you will need antivirus software which will detect viruses and stop them from infecting your computer.A few examples of antivirus software are listed below.


Symantec is a well-known software company and their antivirus program, Norton Antivirus, is just as famous.You can buy just the antivirus program, or you can bundle it with several other computer protection tools in one of several packages that Symantec offers, adding a firewall and several other tools to your arsenal.The Symantec software will automatically update your antivirus protection, so your computer will always be protected.Symantec does have several drawbacks, most notably the expensive price and the fact that their products have been known to slow down computer performance.


Avast is an antivirus program that has grown in popularity due to its effective protection and its price, which is free for non-commercial home use.Avast! will not just stop viruses, but other threats which do not qualify as viruses, malware.Avast! also does not effect your computer’s performance.There are some sites that offer Avast! while trying to charge for it, so if you get Avast make sure you get it at www.avast.com. Avast also offers a professional version of their software, which does come with a price tag, albeit cheaper than many other antivirus software.Like Symantec, Avast! automatically updates to offer constant protection.


Adware is a term used to describe computer threats that do nothing more than display ads on your computer.These threats are not dangerous to your computer, merely to yourself, as it is frustrating to constantly be closing ad windows as they pop up.


Ad-Aware is a free anti-adware program designed by Lavasoft.Ad-Aware scans your system and notes items that could be considered adware, than allow you to decide whether to delete, quarantine, or ignore them.You must manually begin Ad-Aware scan, although if you spend a little bit for the upgraded version of Ad-Aware you will receive round-the-clock protection from adware.


Spyware is another computer threat that is similar to adware, indeed, the term malware exists to denote any form of malicious program that harms your computer, be it adware or spyware.Whereas adware will simply display ads on your computer, spyware will try to steal information from your computer.Spyware is dangerous in that it can steal your personal information, such as bank accounts and passwords, and put this information to use for the sole benefit of the people behind the spyware.

Spybot Search and Destroy

Spybot Search and Destroy is a free program that will scan your computer for any forms of spyware and delete them from your computer after receiving your permission to delete the threats.Spybot is a well-respected program known for its efficiency and ability to detect some forms of spyware that bough and paid for anti-spyware programs will not.

Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are a very popular way for crooks to make lots of money.The scams work by sending out emails to thousands of people, attempting to entice the recipients into entering their personal information in order to steal from their accounts.One example of this is an email that appears to be from eBay expressing a concern about your account.It then asks you to follow a link to a website that looks like it is an eBay webpage and enter your account information.If you enter the information then you will have given access to your eBay account over to a couple of crooks.

Sometimes the crooks will be clumsy, not even disguising the URL so that instead of reading www.ebay.com it will look something like this: www.geocities.com/…/…/www.ebay.com/, using some free domain as the base for its fake ebay site.However, you cannot count on the criminals being clumsy so if you receive an emal asking you to enter your account information for whatever site they are pretending to be, don’t click on any links.Instead, if the email says it came from ebay, forward the message directly to ebay expressing your concern that you were just contacted in a phishing scam.Most sites will thank you for informing them and work promptly to shut down the website linked with the phishing scam.

Virus Hoax Scam:

This scam is designed to cause trouble by making you damage your computer.This scam works through email, as someone will start a chain letter that says something like this, “The XYZ virus is going around, search your computer for a file named thisfile.xyz. If you find this file your computer is infected and you need to delete this file.” The file that is listed will actually be an important system file and you will severely damage your computer by deleting the file.

Most antivirus company websites, such as symantec, will also have a listing of viruses and virus hoaxes, so you can visit them to see if you are indeed at risk.Also, the website www.snopes.com offers information on many different subjects, computer viruses among them.When on their main page click on the computers category and then choose computer viruses to see a list of viruses and virus hoaxes.

Always be careful when dealing with potential threats to your computer.

2 Responses to “Tip 30: Online Security”

  1. Jack

    I would suggest not to use windows OS, there are much more viruses for Windows than for any other OS.

    I working on MAC for 2 years and never had problems with viruses or some kind of malware

  2. james covert

    I would always reccomend never shutting down a firewall before installing player software, if software can not run through the firewall then look somewhere else. You just don’t know what other things your bringing in, i read once about a reflection trojan, someone being able to see your screen and your hands, ouch.


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