Posted by: mattdf | March 25, 2011

Arming Yourself Against Internet Threats

It goes without saying that the realm of the Internet is a dangerous place to visit.  It is home to a war of escalation with malware creators coming up with new methods of infecting computers, anti-virus companies creating new detection rules and techniques, and the end users caught in the middle of the battlefield.

Malware is using increasingly sophisticated techniques to implant themselves on PCs, whether it be hacking legitimate searches or sites, spamming millions of e-mails, or using social engineering techniques to prey upon the unwary.  The sheer number of malware strains out there today is simply staggering and growing on a daily basis; Net-Security.org has an eye-opening article about this here.

So what can end users do to protect themselves, their family, and their identity from online invaders?  Here is a list of ways to help keep your computer safe:

–          Update your operating system!  Updates are released by Apple and Microsoft to patch vulnerabilities within their software that are used by infections.  Make sure the automatic update service is turned on for your respective system.

–          Update your anti-virus!  Even if you aren’t using SecureIT, always ensure you have the latest version of your anti-virus program and that it is up to date with the most current definitions.

–          Update your browser!  Most browsers also have regular updates as well, so ensure you have the latest version to prevent any potential security holes.

–          Update everything else!  The web has become a multimedia-driven entity, and most of that media is run by third-party applications such as Adobe Flash or Java.  Always keep these applications up to date as well.  Adobe actually released a critical update to their Flash player earlier this week; you can read more about it here.

–          Play it smart!  Never enter any personally identifiable information on a site that is not secure, and never open e-mails or attachments from people you don’t recognize.  Also beware of e-mails claiming to be from financial institutions, shipping companies, or any other organization that asks you for your financial information for “confirmation.”  Most organizations will NEVER request such information, especially not through e-mail.

–          Have a backup plan!  There is always a chance that something will get through your defenses and cripple your system.  Maybe someone in the home clicks a bad link on Facebook or a search result gets redirected to a malicious site.  Whatever the reason, always keep a backup of your important data in a secure location.  One good plan is to keep critical files protected using an online backup system that encrypts and copies your files to an off-site data center for easy retrieval.

The SecureIT Beta 5 update will be coming out soon, stay tuned for details.


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