Are you tired of hearing all the hoopla about “browser safety” and “online security”? Well, you’re not alone. Millions of people just like you are tired of hearing all the warnings. In Fact, most likely, right after they installed their Anti-Virus and saw the little icon down in the corner working and ‘doing it’s thing’, they started tuning out all the warnings and notifications that bombard their inbox every day.
Ah, the euphoria of browsing in a soft, cottony ‘web’ of denial! We all would like to believe that we can point, click, and browse without regards for the consequences throughout the infinite open space that is the internet. But just like the time you learned that Santa’s Toys are actually returned to Wal-Mart, tough love must be imposed sooner or later. So why not now?
Let’s dispel some of those internet security lies that you’ve come to believe over the years. The following falsehoods may be hard to process at first, but you’ll be better off in the long run.
Lie # 1: Only those ‘naughty’ sites are dangerous. Since you don’t visit websites of disrepute, you’ve got the green light. Buzz! Incorrect answer!! More than 83 percent of malware hosting sites are “trusted.” You’re more likely to be infected by visiting a bona fide shopping or general lifestyle site than you are a pornography or gambling site.
Lie #2: I can only get infected if I download files . Back in unassuming times, you only needed to be careful when downloading .exe files. Now, malware infections may occur through “drive-by” downloads. The malicious code lies in wait on seemingly innocent content, which then runs automatically within the browser as a result of simply viewing the Web page.
Lie # 3: I already have antivirus software so that’s all I need . Antivirus protection is a raincoat in the rainstorm and it’s great that you have it for tempestuous “conditions.” However, a new virus enters ‘cyber space’ quicker than you can say, “Trojan” Buy software that updates definitions regularly, preferably automatically, and multiple times throughout the day. Antivirus software only stops viruses from infecting your system while you browse, which is great, but it’s not going to save you from a hacker. Get a separate device (a firewall) that acts as a Unified Threat Management System and has multiple layers of defense and safeguards. That should always be your first line of defense.
Lie # 4: If the lock icon is at the bottom of the page, I’m safe . Before you go online and purchase that new costume for the upcoming Halloween party,, you look for that little yellow padlock in the browser bar. Although your instinct tells you to be cautious, that padlock is the symbol that the Security Gods of the Internet have given it their stamp of approval, right? That would be a big, fat BUZZZZ!
All that the padlock icon means is that there is a secure connection between your computer and the server that is hosting that webpage: It does NOT protect you from malware. Some hackers are have gotten very good at faking an SSL certificate – or buying one for a short time – and then toss in some padlock clip art. Many people have been fooled into thinking a page is authorized and secure when in fact it’s not.
Lie # 5: My passwords are absurdly advanced . While “*Tyg&89-0Pd45!@-pup” is better than “pass*word,” you’re still not entirely protected. No matter how outlandish or cerebralized your password, there’s someone (or something) out there devoting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to breaking your code.
Hackers also use keyloggers, which can capture and monitor keyboard activity. You can encrypt til the cows come home – there’s still a chance your password will be hacked.
Lie # 6: Alarms and Flashing Lights will go off when I’m infected. If you are thinking that just because you’re not seeing a ton of Pop-ups or your system doesn’t seem slow or sluggish that you have nothing to worry about, you’ve just swallowed a big gulp of LIE. Malware has evolved to the point where you won’t detect it – that’s exactly the goal of the hackers. Even more reason to get your digital ‘poop in a scoop’. Today’s threats are sneaky little mongrels.
Lie # 7: My Computer has nothing valuable on it . So you don’t have major financial institution information on your hard drive or a spreadsheet of all the CIA operative’s social security numbers. You most likely do have an email password, access to at least one social networking site and possibly even your resume in your documents folder. That’s all someone needs to steal your identity.
See, you do have valuable information on your computer – and it’s worth protecting!!