Your computer is exposed to many dangers on a daily basis. Not only viruses are waiting to do their thing, but adware, hackers, and phishers are also lurking. Companies respond well to this, you can choose from countless security programs, scans, and detectors with many options, so many that a layman will quickly lose his way. What is really necessary to have, and against what do you have to protect yourself?
Malware, also known as a virus, is a form of software that hides in your computer and can cause damage. Viruses are often sent by email, with a misleading story they let you open a link, after which the virus settles in your computer. Some viruses don’t do much harm but are still considered annoying because they take up writing space and slow down your computer. Other viruses are more harmful: they can erase information on your computer, and even send confidential information to others. When your computer is infected, the virus will try to spread using your data. This allows the virus to send itself to contacts.
Besides viruses, you also have another type of malware, namely Trojan horses. These are also often attached to emails, disguised as useful software. In reality, they perform very different functions than they appear to do. In this way, they make the computer accessible to hackers and viruses. Others can penetrate your system, retrieve data or destroy data.
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What To Do?
The most important thing is to install an anti-virus program. Although these programs cannot guarantee the security of your computer 100 percent, it is a step in the right direction. While it is tempting to download a free program, it is wise to pay for the program. Paid programs often offer protection against other threats in addition to malware protection. When purchasing an antivirus program, it is important to pay attention to the following points:
- Many antivirus programs are such large files that they make your computer slow. This is not the intention of course. So pay attention to the size of the program when purchasing.
- Antivirus programs can never detect all viruses. New viruses are constantly being created, so there is a chance that the antivirus program will not recognize a virus.
- Even older viruses are sometimes not recognized. They may be disguised in such a way that it is very difficult to track them down. Even commonly used antivirus programs are usually unable to do this.
It is therefore important to pay attention to yourself, even if you have an adequate program.
Adware is part of the software, for example, p2p programs. When you download this software, adware files are automatically installed on your computer. Adware is still quite harmless. It can be annoying, but it won’t harm your computer. It shows you advertisements through a pop-up window. Spyware, on the other hand, is a lot worse. Spyware is often part of adware and is mainly intended to obtain information about you, for example by keeping track of your internet behavior. This information is then passed on to outsiders, for example, to be able to send targeted advertising. In addition, ads and spyware make your computer a lot slower, because there is a continuous supply of new advertising and information.
What To Do?
When you download free software, a light should already light up. The software can only be free if the provider recovers the money invested in some other way. So with adware. This does not apply to all programs, but you should be extra careful with free software. Taking a look at the files that the software contains is usually not enough. Adware is usually very cleverly disguised. That is why it is wise to be careful with, for example, free download programs. You can also install an anti-adware program, for example, the AdAware from Lavasoft.
Phishing is a new form of fraud, which is committed via the internet. Criminals try to steal your information by impersonating your bank. First, you get an email, which appears to be from your bank, but in reality, is a perfectly counterfeit copy of a ‘phisher’. You will be asked to enter your bank details. It also contains a link, which will then lead you to the scammer’s site. URL spoofing is used for this. This simulates the bank’s site, including the same URL. Phishers also sometimes work over the phone.
What To Do?
There is no program that can protect you against phishing. It is up to you to recognize phishing. When an email asks for bank details, a bell should ring. Banks will never ask for details by mail. Phishing is punishable, and you can report it.