8 Online Security Myths Debunked

100714-securitymyths-01Like any subject, myths and stories about Internet security abound. We spend a lot of time discussing online security here on the Tech Talk blog, and we want to make sure you’re getting complete and accurate information. We don’t want to scare you, but we don’t want to lull you into complacency, either.

Here are 8 things about online security that we’d like you to stop believing.

The Internet is so big, they’ll never find me.

Yes, the Internet is huge, but not to worry – if your computer or network is unprotected, thieves and criminals will find you. They use automated tools to scan for unprotected computers across the Internet. If your computer is unprotected, it’s only a matter of time before your machine is compromised.

There’s nothing useful on my computer.

Untrue. From bank and shopping emails to cached passwords and information, there is a wealth of information a skilled hacker can get his or her hands on. Not to mention seemingly benign correspondence that could give a thief information about your and your family that would help them steal your identity.

I’ve got antivirus software. I’m good to go.

Installing antivirus software and a firewall is a great first step to smart online behavior, but just installing it is not enough. You need to keep this type of hardware updated – that’s how it catches new threats and protects your computer or network from them.

I’m too smart to be fooled by websites and emails.

We know you’re smart, but so are the hackers and thieves who are trying to trick you. They try to stay one step ahead of you, using official logos and graphics and mimicking typefaces and writing styles to fool you into thinking a website or email is legitimate. Click a link on that website or email, though, and you’ve fallen into their trap. Always enter URLs directly into your browser, especially when the email doesn’t look quite right. Activate the spam-blocking software on your email, and look pay attention when your browser alerts you to problems with a website.

Only sketchy websites are dangerous.

We wish this were true, but it’s not. With enough time and skill, a thief can get into any website he or she sets their sights on. Install antivirus and antispyware software on your computer and keep it up to date, and they’ll alert you when something isn’t right.

Attachments are the most dangerous aspect of email.

That used to be true, but it’s not the case anymore. As we noted above, scammers have gotten more savvy – imitating legitimate emails from banks and shopping websites and then embedding suspicious links to try and trick you. If the email looks too good to be true or is asking for personal information, do not click on the link.

I have to download something to be infected.

If your computer is unprotected, you can get infected just by visiting a suspicious website. With no antivirus and spyware to protect you and alert you to a threat, a malicious website can install something on your machine and get to work.

I’ll know when I’ve been infected.

In the past, that was the case. You got a virus, and your machine slowed to a crawl or crashed. These days, scammers want to keep your computer running. They can continue running their scheme or collecting your data without you knowing it. The virus runs quietly in the background while you go about your business.

Do you have questions about online security? We’re ready to answer them! Contact PNSolutions today, and we’ll help you learn how to stay safe online.

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