Online security is big business
Online safety is a big business at present, with a plethora of security companies wanting you to use their products, all of these products promising to keep your computer safe and secure from infections and intruders. Unfortunately this is not where online safety begins or ends. Put simply online safety beings AND ends with YOU. Learning to recognise false links and fake security reports will go a long way to ensuring your system stays safe, healthy and secure.
False download links
These are links which are made to stand out on the website trying to get you to download items which you don’t want/need on your system. Sometimes these can be legitimate programs which happen to be advertised on the page you are on as they are relate to what you are searching for. in the below screenshot from my computer we can see I am trying to download ‘CCleaner’; this is a program we use here at Geek Squad to clean computers, but on this website we can see several other item which say download. Let’s look at each one.
So this is a pretty straight forward website, nothing overly too untoward and a nice easy to spot download now button. Let’s now look at another example. The same file being downloaded from a different website. Let’s examine this the same way as the previous one.
Sometimes when downloading software from the internet you may be asked to install a ‘toolbar’. A toolbar is a row of dedicated icons from a particular publisher or company etc. which sit on the top of your web-browser. An example of a useful one would be the Google Toolbar; this provides quick and easy access to Google services from hand buttons. However there are also ‘rouge’ toolbars which could re-direct whatever you search for. Some examples of rouge Toolbars are; ALOT and mywebsearch.
Pop-ups are possibly the single most annoying thing about the internet, they are like someone jumping in front you when you are shopping for something in a shop and shouting at you ti buy something completely different. Sometimes pop-ups can try and sell you something sometimes they can try and cause fear and through this encourage you to download unwanted software or viral infections. A lot of the time these can be in the form of FakeAV (Fake Anti-Virus programs) these have taken many names and forms over the past few years, some of them being; Security Tool, XP Anti-Virus 2010, Vista Security 360, etc. All these names have been designed to make them sound genuine and also they are made to look genuine. But there are some ways you can stay ahead of them.
1) Look at the top right hand corner there will be the standard Windows close and minimise buttons:
2) Simply press the ‘close’ button (the X)
3) Beware as the pop-up will insist that there are numerous infections on your machine – there will be generally be none – if in doubt run your own anti-virus software.
On the whole it the biggest part of online security is being as vigilant and as thoughtful as you would be if someone walked up to you in the street trying to convince you that you had a variety of medical infections.