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Security Tips

Here are a few basic security tips & tricks that you can use to better protect yourself from viruses and malware.

 

Free Antivirus Solution from Microsoft
Since October 2009, Microsoft has offered a FREE antivirus product for Windows operating systems. In my experience, I have found this to be a very good product — it has cleaned up computers, on which, paid antivirus products couldn't touch, and in some cases, didn't even know were there. Highly recommended. Click here to go to the Microsoft Security Essentials website.

(In Window 8 and later, this product has been renamed to Windows Defender and is built-in. There also used to be another product with the Windows Defender name, that pre-dated Security Essentials, but was not an active antivirus. It was classified as an antispyware program.)

 

How to Avoid and Remove Facebook Malware
Facebook is filled with spammy posts and fake applications. Learn how Facebook malware is contracted, how to avoid it, and ways to remove it. Click here to go to the CNET website and view the video.

 

Free Plugin Check for Your Web Browser
The makers of the Firefox browser offer a very helpful service that will check your browser's plugins to make sure that they are up-to-date. (Currently, it only works with Firefox.) If they find that you have an outdated or insecure plugin, they provide a link that you can click on to go get the latest version. Click here to go to the Mozilla website to check your plugins.

 

Basic Computer Security
The most important factor for computer security is user behavior. Here are just a few things you can do to avoid malware & viruses:
1. Always be very skeptical of links or attachments in emails. If you were not already expecting an email with a link or attachment from someone, then don’t click on it.
2. Avoid the use of any so-called “free music sharing” software or websites. They are notorious for malware.
3. Never believe any sudden notices while on web pages that have urgent alerts claiming that you need to install something to clean your computer — that item is the malware. They are just trying to trick you into installing it.

 

Skype Scam
I've begun to see incoming calls on Skype claiming to be an alert service, and urging you go to a website to download something to protect your computer. Because, according to them, your computer is unprotected. This is a totally bogus ploy from a malicious website attempting to trick you into going to their site, which is most likely loaded with hacks that will try everything they know of, to hijack your computer. This may be done through an un-patched (not up-to-date) computer, or by convincing you to download their so-called "fix". DON'T do it!

Just report them by clicking on "Conversation" at the top of the Skype window, selecting "Block...", marking the "Report Abuse" checkbox, and submit it. This will block that user from contacting you again, and alert Skype that they are a problem. Though, the malicious user will undoubtedly create another account and continue under that new username, at least you will now be on-guard for this type of trick.

The best computer security is user behavior — always be skeptical of any unsolicited so-called "help" for your computer.

 

Phone Call Scam
Recently, there has been a rapid increase in the number of reports of people receiving a phone call, in which the caller claims to be from "Windows Support". The caller claims that they have detected problems on your computer. To "demonstrate" it, the caller will have you open the system logs (which will always contain reports of errors on your system) and tell you that the errors that appear there are proof that your system has a virus. This is not proof of virus activity.

If the caller is successful in tricking the victim into believing that they are there to "help", they will direct the computer user to download a file that is supposed to clean the virus. But, that file is the virus.

Don't be fooled by this latest technique to infect your computer. Just tell them that you're on to them, and hang up.

 

Last updated: 01-29-2016

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