Internet Security Tip: Don’t Click on That Link!

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Internet Security Tip Don’t Click on That Link!

Removing a virus from your computer can be a lengthy process, and most people will lose precious files in the process.  Don’t assume that viruses only hang out in seedy corners of the internet, and that simple browsing does not put you at risk.  Hackers have come up with increasingly inventive ways to invade our computers, and seemingly innocent sites such as social networks can expose us to malware.  It is always necessary to have up to date antivirus software installed on your computer, but even this does not offer full protection.  Most viruses make their way into our computers through our own doing, and it is important to be vigilant when browsing the web.  Clicking on suspicious links, opening email attachments, and downloading are all open invitations to viruses, so knowing how to spot a virus is an important skill to learn.

That Feeling of Helplessness

Imagine clicking a link and then watching helpless as all hell breaks loose on your computer, and seeing your precious device slowly shut down and become useless.  Another type of virus will attack your hard drive without your knowledge, and can steal credit card information, bank account details, and personal files.  If you are unsure about a link, read the URL first and check that it will actually take you to where it claims to lead.  Most browsers will show the URL in the bottom of your browser if you hover over the link, or you can right click over the link and then select properties.  If the link claims to lead you to a Wikipedia article on history, then the URL will be ‘http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History’.  If the URL looks especially long or unfamiliar, it is possibly a virus.

Who Sent That Email?

Our email accounts are gateways for viruses and spyware, and it can sometimes be tricky to spot which emails are fakes.  Many hackers will compose emails that seem to be sent from legitimate companies, and will encourage the recipient to click a link or open an attachment.  Never open an email attachment from someone you don’t know, and be sure to look carefully at the senders return address.  Even if the email displays the header and logo of a well-known company, an unusual return address or subject line will alert you if it is not official.  Some viruses work by hijacking a victim’s email account and sending infected emails to their contacts.  Be wary of any unexpected emails from friends and especially those that contain a phrase such as “here is the document you asked for” and point you toward a link.  Always scan any email attachments with a virus scanner, and be especially vigilant with those that end in .exe, .com, .scr, and .pif.

Watch Out – Free Miracles

A good way to avoid viruses is to remember that if a link looks too good to be true, then it probably is.  Never click on links promising easy ways to make money, lose weight, or that claim you have won a competition that you didn’t enter.  If your computer does become infected it is important to remain calm.  Trying to hastily download virus removal software in a moment of panic can make things worse, and could even lead to further infection.  Remove your computer from any network it is connected to, and immediately unplug any hardware.  Restart your computer in safe mode and attempt to remove any malicious software using an antivirus rescue CD.  If the infection has rendered your computer useless, then you can restore it back to its factory settings.  This option will wipe all your existing files and programs from your hard drive, so it is essential to always back up any important files.

Encountering a virus can be a traumatic experience, but by taking a few precautions you will greatly lower your chances of infection.

Jerry Lehman has had his share of computer viruses. As an enthusiastic blogger, he loves to share what he has learned the hard way, with others on the Web. Visit the satellitestarinternet.com/ link to find out about satellite internet services. Learn more about the best way to protect your data, on this website: www.hostistry.com