Antivirus software is a critical tool for safeguarding your computer, personal data, and other vital information. Virus protection helps provide a defense against intrusion attempts, viruses, and worms. Without antivirus protection, you are leaving your computer vulnerable, similar to leaving your car unlocked or the door to your home open.
Spyware is unwanted software that stores itself on your computer. It essentially spies on you and will slow down your computer, often leading to a complete crash. Spyware is intended to capture your web browsing habits - and often, users aren't aware that their computers are infected. While it was originally intended to be used by advertisers to cater your browsing experience, spyware is more malicious and can share email for spamming, share your confidential and personal information, and increase your risk of identity theft.
NET Services can effectively remove spyware from your computer. To combat a spyware infection:
• Run updated antivirus software
• Surf smart by clicking the X to close a pop-up instead of "agree" or "ok"
• Use caution when downloading software, especially free software
• If software looks too good to be true, it probably is (and loaded with spyware)
• Don't open e-mail attachments unless you know what they are
• Only download from sites and/or people you know and trust
• Change your browser security settings to a higher level
• Use a firewall
• Carefully review the "click-through" agreements as users often agree to download additional software that includes spyware
• Be wary of known spyware carriers such as CoolWebSearch, Kazaa, Weatherbug free, and many other peer-to-peer file sharing sites
• Don't click on links for free anti-spyware software, and
• Be cautious when you receive an online alert that you are infected. Many times, these are how they get you to download spyware
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines phishing as "a scam by which an e-mail user is duped into revealing personal or confidential information in which the scammer can use illicitly" (2011).
A phishing e-mail will appear to come from a legitimate source or site and will ask the recipeint to follow a hyperlink to resolve an issue. The hyperlink then typically takes the user to a duplicate web site. When the user enters their confidential information, the scammers obtain this information. Even websites can have phishing scams associated with hyperlinks.
The best way to avoid a phishing scam is to never click on a link in an unexpected or suspicious message.
Other proactive steps you can take include:
- Use caution when visiting web sites
- Never enter confidential information on a site you don't trust
- Make sure your transactions are secure by looking for the lock on the bottom right of your browser
- Do not click on a link but rather copy it and paste it into a browser
- Don't click on pop-ups or ads
- Be wary of e-mails that ask for personal information, including from NSU! It is our practice never to ask you for personal or confidential information through email
- Keep your computer and antivirus up-to-date
- Don't allow your browser to auto-fill in fields or remember passwords
- Don't assume email to be secure or confidential
- Log off websites when done, and
- Think twice about visiting a secure web site while on a public computer