Unfixed bugs in certain browsers, the ignorance of individuals about the importance of installing trustworthy antivirus software, and the habit of downloading pirated software from the internet, often from unknown sources… all of these can pose problems for your computer as well as breach your privacy. Even a simple action like visiting certain sites can infect your computer with malware such as key-loggers. Are you aware of the financial risks you might suffer from if a stranger got access to your credit card details or information about your bank account, without you being aware of it? They can easily use these credentials to siphon money from your account. It will be too late by the time you realize the problem and request your credit card providers to block your card or request your bankers to reset your password. You can rest assured that it will be nearly impossible to retrieve your lost money.
Curiosity killed the cat
Never visit websites, especially those offering porn or cracked software. Simply visiting such sites might infect your computer with programs such as key-loggers that note down your keystrokes without you being aware of it, and send the data to the compiler of that program. This can harm you financially, especially if you are purchasing goods from an online store and pay for the same with your credit/ debit card. It does not matter if the online store has a secure payment gateway because the encryption process takes place while the data leaves your PC, but the key-logger grabs the input card number and other information like its month & year of expiry, and its CVV information, as transmits the same to the cyber criminal.
Do not blame the browser
Most browsers update themselves automatically to include a layer of security and ward off potential threats while you are browsing the net. They will provide an onscreen alert about potentially dangerous websites when you try to visit them. However, most people cannot resist the temptation to visit sites containing xxx rated images and movies, ignore the warning displayed by their browser, and leave their computer open to attacks by Trojans and other malware. You can prevent your computer from being infected by following the warning messages displayed by your browser and not visiting doubtful websites.
Dangers of pirated software
Never download pirated software. The key-gens included along with these programs might contain malware that can compromise your operating system. In the worst case scenario certain, you can end up losing all the data on your hard disk drive, if the keygen contains ransom-ware (also known as CryptoLocker). In such a case, the malware will encrypt all the data present in your HDD and display a message on your computer’s screen, requesting you to input a specific combination of characters and digits (decryption key) to decrypt the data. You have to send a sum of cash as ransom to a specific individual within a limited time to receive the key. If you succumb to the threat and send them the money, they will send you they key. If you fail to do so, you shall never be able to regain the lost data.
How to secure your computer against attacks
• Most harmful files contain a hidden extension. For example, the sexyblone.jpg file might be an executable file instead of an image. The real name of the file might well be sexyblonde.jpg.exe, but you cannot see the .exe extension as the default Windows settings have file extensions disabled. Enable display of file extensions through the `control panel.’ If necessary, seek the help of a friend to find out how to enable this feature.
• Never open a file attached to an incoming email unless you receive the mail from a trusted source. If you get a request to enable `micros’ while attempting to open an attached .doc/ .docx file, do not do so.
• Install an antivirus manufactured by a reputable company. Most developers nowadays offer bundles that contain antiviruses, anti-keyloggers, anti-malware, and anti-Trojans. Although quite a few developers offer free versions of their antivirus programs, resist the temptation and go for the paid version. This enables the auto update feature of the program, allowing it to download security patches for the latest viruses and malware and install them automatically as soon as the developer releases them.
• Turn on the auto update feature of your operating system to ensure that it remains up to date with latest patches and security features as soon as they are released.