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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Avoid Malware Infections

Avoid Malware Infections
Some websites contain tempting offers to
download free games and music, install
toolbars that offer convenience, enter contests,
and receive coupons on your computers
or mobile devices. Danger, however, may
lurk in those files, for they secretly could
install malware with effects ranging from a
mild annoyance to a severe problem such
as identity theft. Recall that malware is
malicious software that acts without your
knowledge and deliberately alters operations
of your computer or mobile device. As
a general rule, do not install or download
unfamiliar software. Follow these guidelines
to minimize the chance of your computer
or mobile device becoming infected with
malware:

Social media
Social media: Malware authors often
focus on social media, with the goal of
stealing personal information, such as
passwords, profiles, contact lists, and credit
card account details. Their websites urge
unsuspecting users to take surveys, tap or
click links to obtain free merchandise and
games, and download antivirus programs.
Ignore these deceitful tactics.

Email: Spam
Email: Spam (unsolicited email messages)
can be loaded with malware, but even
email messages from friends can be a
culprit. If the message does not contain a
subject line or contains links or an attachment,
exercise caution. One option is to
save the attachment to your computer so
that antivirus software can scan the file for
possible malware before you open it. Your
best practice is to avoid opening suspicious
messages at all costs.

Flash memory storage:
Flash memory storage: Colleagues and
friends may hand you a USB flash drive or
memory card with software, photos, and
other files. Scan these media with security
software before opening any files.

Pop-up windows:
Pop-up windows: At times, a window
may open suddenly (called a pop-up
window), with a warning that your
computer is infected with a virus or that
a security breach has occurred, and then
make an urgent request to download free
software to scan your computer or mobile
device and correct the alleged problem.
Beware. Many of these offers actually are
rogue security software that will infect a
computer.

Websites
Websites: Websites you visit or pop-up
windows may present instructions to
download new software or update current
programs installed on a computer or
mobile device. If you are uncertain of their
legitimacy, exit and research the software
by reading reviews online before you
decide to install it.

Software:
Software: Occasionally, some seemingly
safe software attempts to install malware.
Even worse, some software touted as offering
malware protection actually installs more
malware. Always obtain software from reputable
sources and, if possible, update software
directly from manufacturers’ websites.
Consider using the custom installation option
to ensure that only the desired software is
installed. Read the permissions dialog boxes
that are displayed on your screen before
tapping or clicking the OK or Agree buttons.
If you are uncertain about the messages you
are viewing, cancel the installation.

Smartphones:
Smartphones: Malware creators are
targeting smartphones, particularly those
using the Android operating system. While
an estimated 80 percent of all smartphones
are unprotected now, savvy users
are obtaining protection from malware
attacks. Read reviews before downloading
antimalware apps from trusted sources.

Consider This
Consider This: What online activities
might cause malware to be installed on your
computer? Which specific websites provide
reputable antimalware apps for mobile
devices? What new techniques will you use to
avoid malware?
 
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