Common Sense Tips to Avoid Malware Infections

The Internet is a huge resource for those of us who are curious. It provides us with the vehicle we need to satisfy our nosiness, our inquisitiveness, as well as our curiosity.

Using the Internet we can snoop, probe, pry; and question, or confirm, virtually any statement, fact or opinion. We now have access to a quantity, and quality (some might dispute the quality), of information as never before.

Many of us have learned to satisfy this curiosity, or search for knowledge, by a mouse click here, and a mouse click there. In a sense, a lot of of us have developed a conditioned response to “just click”.

Knowing we are all pretty curious creatures, cyber-crooks are now exploiting our natural curiosity relying, more and more, on this aspect of social engineering to create an opportunity designed to drop malicious code, including rootkits, password stealers, Trojan horses, and spam bots on our computers. (See “Rogue Security Software on the Rise – What You Need to Know Now!” on this site.)

So in a real sense, it may well be our instinctive responses that pose the biggest risk to our online safety and security. Our curiosity coupled with our conditioned responses can often override our common sense, so it’s not unusual that many people will open an email attachment without knowing if the attachment contains a virus, or another form of malware.

Security experts agree that a significant number of malware infections could be avoided if users stopped opening the types of files that are clearly dangerous. Up to now however, this type of dangerous behavior continues, despite the warnings.

As part of the Tech community I am aware that many Techies do not look to anti-malware solution software for total protection, but instead, they rely on their own experiences and common sense to avoid malware infections. Techies are well aware of the hidden dangers on the Internet, and they have overcome that natural tendency to “just click”.

Modify your instinctive behavior:

Before you click, stop and consider the potential consequences. In the final analysis, you are the best line of defense against malware infecting your computer.

If you are in the habit of downloading files from the Internet you should avoid possibly destructive files with extensions such as .exe, .scr, .lnk, .bat, .vbs, .dll, .bin, and .cmd, unless you are familiar with the download site, and trust it to be free of potential dangers.

Be kind to your friends, relatives, and associates and let them know that “just clicking haphazardly” without considering the consequences, can lead to the installation of malicious code that can cause identity theft and the theft of passwords, bank account numbers, and other personal information.

Think like a Techie and be aware of the following security risks on the Internet:

Trojan horse programs

Back door and remote administration programs

Denial of service

Being an intermediary for another attack

Unprotected Window shares

Mobile code (Java, JavaScript, and ActiveX)

Cross-site scripting

Email spoofing

Email-borne viruses

Hidden file extensions

Chat clients

Packet sniffing

Act like a Techie and review the following actions you can take to protect your Internet connected computer system:

Don’t open unknown email attachments

Don’t run programs of unknown origin

Disable hidden filename extensions

Keep all applications (including your operating system) patched

Turn off your computer or disconnect from the network when not in use

Disable Java, JavaScript, and ActiveX if possible

Disable scripting features in email programs

Make regular backups of critical data

Make a boot disk in case your computer is damaged or compromised

Turn off file and printer sharing on the computer.

Install a personal firewall on the computer.

Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software and ensure it is configured to automatically update when you are connected to the Internet.

Ensure the anti-virus software scans all e-mail attachments.

If you are unsure if your current anti-malware applications offer adequate protection, then checkout “The 35 Best Free Applications – Tried, Tested and Reliable”, on this site.

For additional information on Online fraud, checkout Online Fraud – How to avoid being a participant… at What’s On My PC.

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5 Comments

Filed under Don't Get Hacked, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety, internet scams, Malware Advisories, Online Safety, Rogue Software, Safe Surfing, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools

5 responses to “Common Sense Tips to Avoid Malware Infections

  1. What are the best spyware programmes currently available on the market,from the free ones to the ones that cost a few dollars,please recommend the best and why you think they are the best.

    • billmullins

      I don’t test, or rate, commercial security applications – only free
      applications. For a list of free security programs that I have tested and
      rate highly, please read *Need Free Security Programs? 10 Of The
      Best!*on
      my site.

      Bill

  2. Bill,

    Thank you for the link reference to my site. I do appreciate that.

    As you have mentioned to me, many times, if enough of us get the message out we can make a difference.

    Rick

    • billmullins

      Rick,

      Yes, getting the message out is an important aspect of what we do. It’s
      always a pleasure, for me, to link back to your well researched, and well
      written articles.

      Bill

  3. F Murray

    I searched for help on removing Antivirus 2009 from my daughter’s Ipod, and clicked on your site, but now cannot find help for that specific problem. thanks for the coaching on removing AV 2009 from my pc. I’m going to try your advice tonight.