It’s a jungle out there on the net, but by using these few simple tricks and traps, anybody
can protect themselves from the virtual beasts that lurk there, waiting to attack the unwary.
Online security is not just for big corporations. It’s true that they stand to lose
more, in terms of value, than you or I, but they have sufficient reserves to be able to
weather the storm, whereas the average small business or man on the street is in a much
more precarious position.
Using your credit or debit card online is no longer as dangerous as it once was, but
there are other ways in which use of your computer can be made difficult, even impossible.
Viruses are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many different ways in which your
computer can be preyed on whilst you are online, and even after you have disconnected.
Apart from worms, viruses, trojans, data miners, and keystroke loggers, there is spyware,
adware and who knows what else out there. All of them trying to take advantage of you
and/or your computer.
These products have many purposes. Very few of them are purely vindictive or disruptive.
For example, many viruses which install themselves onto a computer do it no harm at all.
Instead, they use the email program running on the computer to send out spam, starting with
everyone in the computer’s address book. And although everybody I know deletes spam
immediately, presumably there must be some sales, or this type of virus would be of no
value to the author.
It is important to be as secure as you can, because in extreme cases, your very identity
can be stolen, and used in ways that will disadvantage you for a long time to come. And
though this may be quite rare, there are many viruses or trojans which disrupt the data you
have on your computer, in some cases causing so much damage that you have to reformat the
disk and start again – which is fine if you have kept backups (as we have all been taught
to do), but how many of us really do back our data up? We know we should do this, but when
was the last time you made a complete copy of all your data?
This sort of attack tends to be at the amateur end of the scale. But if you have
children who surf the net, or you correspond with someone who has kids who surf, you are
at risk. The areas where they surf are some of the most likely sources of this type of
virus. But any of us can fall victim just by a single moment of inattention when checking
through our emails.
So how can you protect yourself from all these different threats?
(To make it easy for you, I have collected links to all the above-mentioned security programs www.informationzone.biz/security.html)
Using these tools, you can protect yourself from almost any malicious program, and if you do pick up
a virus or piece of spyware, for example, you will catch it quickly, before it can do irrecoverable damage.