The appeal of the seemingly limitless information, images, and opportunities on the web can lead us to forget that this access comes with risk to our computers.
Cybercriminals work relentlessly to install malicious software (malware) like viruses and spyware on your computer to try to damage or seize control of it, use your email or instant messages (IM) to spread malware to friends’ computers, or spy on your online activities, ultimately in an attempt to steal sensitive personal information and money.
Criminals use two broad strategies to try to break through a computer’s defenses:
- They install malware on a computer by exploiting unintended vulnerabilities in its software or by breaking into accounts guarded by weak passwords.
- They try to trick you into installing their malware. They can deliver it in downloads that you think are pictures or movies, or in links that you click in email or instant messages (IM), or on a social network. Or they may try to scare you into clicking their button or link with fake warnings that your computer has a virus.
So how do you better secure your computer? Strengthen its defenses and train yourself to act cautiously as you click your way across the web!
Microsoft has released a Consumer Brochure titled Defend Your Computer, which has a lot of information and tips on this subject. You just might want to check it out!