The average Internet user believes his computer is secure if his packaged virus software says it is. Unfortunately, today's "Internet bad guys" are smart enough to overcome conventional security measures. Online computer security specialists report they're being flooded with requests to clean up computers assumed to be protected. Consider these ways your computer may be compromised, even if your virus software says it isn't.
Spies in Sheep's Clothing
One of the most clever spyware ploys is cloaking bad intentions in fake spyware protection. Imagine downloading what you think will make your computer safer, only to learn it's harvesting information from your computer. What a nasty surprise!
Spyware is one form of malicious software often hidden in helpful disguises. If you've ever had a pop-up appear offering to scan your hard drive, beware! Someone's trying to help themselves to information on your computer while pretending to make it safer.
More and more often, this subterfuge is slipping under the radar and requiring conventional security software to play catch-up after thousands of computers are already infected. In addition, computer maintenance and repair services report a primary reason for computer performance issues is spyware infection.
Here's one thing you can do to protect yourself: ignore offers of help that arrive on your computer unsolicited; you could find yourself spending time and money cleaning the mess they leave.
Clicking Your Life Away
Picture someone recording every keystroke you make on your keyboard, whether you're writing an email to a friend or making a purchase with your credit card. That's exactly what keylogger software can do.
This particularly ugly form of intrusion can download itself to your computer while, for example, you download a funny video you think was sent by a friend. Once on your hard drive, it allows a remote website to collect your keystrokes and store them to commit identity theft. Unless your security plan includes some form of identity theft protection, you could be clicking your privacy away without ever realizing it.
Spam, It's More Than an Annoyance
Sooner or later, you're going to open the wrong email message if your computer doesn't block intrusive email. Trojans, spyware and viruses abound in those obnoxious messages offering everything from credit repair to Viagra.
Stringent spam filtering is a must if you hope to keep your computer safe. Also, pledge to never open email from people you don't know. Unfortunately, spoofing has made even this rule imperfect; you may receive a malicious email from someone you know whose email account has been compromised. As spammers become more sophisticated, ignorance about the dangers of spam isn't an option.
The Internet is a great place to work, connect with friends and learn about millions of subjects. Unfortunately, it's also the playground of some pretty rough characters. Protect yourself from spyware, spam and identity theft by learning what online computer security specialists say works. Developing your own computer security plan could be your best insurance against the bad guys.
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Chris Robertson is an author of Majon International, one of the worlds MOST popular internet marketing companies.
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