KEEPING YOUR COMPUTER SECURE
The easiest thing that you can do to protect yourself is to have a working and up-to-date virus scanner on your system. It doesn’t matter if it’s a PC or a Mac – you are vulnerable and need a virus scanner. You should also have a firewall set up as well if it’s not part of your virus scanner. Phones and tablets – basically anything that has access to the internet, are also vulnerable, and so there are virus scanners available for mobile devices as well. Just make sure you ONLY have ONE virus scanner installed and running at any one time on your computer. There will probably be conflicts if you try to install two or more virus scanners. When it comes to virus scanners, two is NOT better than one!
Virus scanners are very important and powerful, however they can’t protect you from malware that you allow to run. For instance if you click on a link on a website or through your email and you allow a program to run, and/or to make any changes to your computer, you may be allowing it to bypass your protection.
For instance, if you get an email that says it’s from Revenue Canada and you need to click on a certain link, you should be suspicious and wary of clicking on anything that shows. You can always check the header of the message, for the source (where it actually came from, rather than where it looks like it came from) and you might notice it originated in a country other than Canada where Revenue Canada is highly unlikely to be emailing you from.
There are other sorts of emails that claim they are from the police or any number of Banks – all of which I would recommend you ignore. If you really need to check on the validity of any of them you can call the organization yourself and talk to someone on the phone to confirm it. Just remember to call the real phone number, and never call the number that might be listed in that email you just received.
Phone Scams/Remote Access
If anyone emails you or calls you out of the blue and tells you there is a problem on your computer, and wants you to give them remote access to your computer,don’t allow them unless it is someone you know or someone you had already asked to help you remotely. Anyone who calls you unexpectedly, who you weren’t expecting will likely be a scam
Usually these scammers will tell you they are from a large company like Microsoft or Apple or Dell, but are not. If you think they are legitimate or you want to check yourself, you can always hang up and call the company they claim to represent to confirm. Just don’t call the number that person gave you themselves.
Web Browser Extensions/Malware
If you notice something unusual on your computer, it behaving differently than before, your home page suddenly changed to something different, your default search engine changed, these may indicate some sort of malware on your system. If you suspect you have any sort of malware, the earliest you can get it removed the better. The longer you leave malware on your system, the more vulnerable it can become to other malware. The earlier you can get it cleaned, the better.
Your web browser is the easiest way for malware to get on your computer. You want you make sure it’s as secure as possible. Depending on the browser you use, you want to make sure all of the browser extensions currently loaded are ones you actually meant to install, and not ones that got installed when you clicked on some popup box on some website, or when you installed some software that you downloaded. For instance, one of the most common malware extensions that are installed in browsers, usually without the knowledge of the person, is something that will change your home page, your default search, and will redirect all your search traffic through their own server, rather than your preferred search (such as Google or Bing). You definitely want to make sure these extensions or addons are removed as soon as possible.
There are some legitimate scanners that you can download and run that will scan and remove much of these bad extensions and other malware you might not realize is on your system and in your browsers, but again you have to be careful which ones you download and run. Many of these so called cleaners, are malware themselves and can do anything from simply injecting ads into websites you visit, to actually logging your keystrokes.
Here are clean links to software that you might want to use:
AVG (Anti Virus) (PC/Mac)