Online Threats Solutions

Don’t be a victim of online threats—fight back by implementing the simple solutions provided in here to protect your data, identity, and family. Fighting these online threats involves two main tasks:

  • Active Protection. Installing and properly using an Internet security suite—which includes protection against threats such as viruses, spyware, and PC intrusion—is vital for proper protection against the hackers, intruders, and other wrongdoers.
  • Preventative Measures. Even though security programs may actively detect and eliminate any threats your PC encounters, you should always help prevent these issues from ever arising.

Combat Viruses

Ensure your PC is free and stays free of malware infections by following the tips.

Active Protection

  • Use Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware software. You need these programs to help detect and eliminate any malware that sneaks its way onto your PC.
  • Download updates regularly. New viruses and other malware emerge every day, and your security software needs to know about them in order to provide full protection.

Security software programs, known as signature file updates, usually allow you to specify how to handle update downloads. The best option is to set the program to automatically update when needed, so you don’t have to worry— you’ll always be fully protected.

  • Run frequent full-system scans. Even though most security software programs actively scan your PC for malware, you should also perform a full system scan at least once a month.

Preventative Measures

  • Keep your system up-to-date. Malware often takes advantage of security holes in operating systems and software programs.You should always install any available updates for your operating system, such as Windows, and any common software you use.
  • Use caution when downloading files on the Internet. Only download files from reputable websites by looking for signs, such as a privacy statement, full contact information, and SSL encryption of sensitive information, typically indicated by a padlock in the lower-right corner of your web browser.

In addition, be wary of websites referred to you by unsolicited emails or for offers that seem too good to be true. To help protect yourself, you shouldn’t use file-sharing programs (also known as peer-to-peer or P2P). In addition, trading someone else’s copyrighted work is illegal, and you may end up in legal trouble.

  • Be careful with email. Email is a very convenient and useful communication method; however, it’s also used by hackers, spammers, and criminals to get what they want. Follow these guidelines:
  • Don’t download or open unsolicited email attachments. Only download and open email attachments from people you know.
  • Watch for phishing scams. Criminals frequently send emails that claim to be from a legitimate enterprise in an attempt to get the user to provide private information that will be used for identity theft. This is referred to as phishing.

For example, identity thieves may send a fake email saying that a particular account needs to be updated in order to prevent cancellation or fees.

In the email is a link to a website that has a similar address and looks just like the organization’s real site, when in reality, it sends your login and other personal information to the thief. Make sure you don’t become a victim.

If you receive emails that ask you to do something—such as login, update information, verify information, or provide sensitive information you should try to verify that it’s indeed a real request and not from a thief.

  • Check your account (via website or phone) to see if you really need to take any action specified in the email. However, don’t click any links in the email and call only customer service numbers that you know to be legitimate.

To access your account and check phone numbers, you should find the institution’s actual website through your browser, not with the URL listed in the email.

  • Check for security alerts. Security software sometimes can help identify fraudulent emails. If you have this type of software, try to verify the authenticity of the sender or email message.
  • Surf the Web with caution. Be careful when browsing the Internet to help reduce the amount of infections your PC receives. Follow these guidelines:
  • Review your web browser settings. You should review and set your web browser’s privacy and security settings. If necessary, refer to your browser’s help section to learn more about these settings and recommendations.
  • Don’t visit illegal or adult sites. Visiting websites that contain illegal or adult content greatly increases your chances of getting viruses, spyware, and other malware.
  • Disconnect from the Internet when you’re away. Using “always on” Internet connections such as cable and DSL increases your chances of some infections and intrusions, because your PC is always connected to the Internet.

This doesn’t mean you should switch back to dial-up Internet—however, you may want to disconnect from your “always on” connection when you don’t plan on using it for a long period of time.

Get Rid of Spam

Tired of sorting through your junk email? Here some solutions that will help.

Active Protection

  • Use Anti-Spam software. Not all anti-spam applications work the same; however the following are two of main methods used to get rid of spam:
  • Sender filtering: This method allows only messages from your approved sender list to reach your inbox— all other mail is quarantined for later review. This is typically the best method to properly fight spam.
  • Key word filtering: This method filters out email messages that contain certain key words or phrases, which are defined by you or others.

Preventative Measures

  • Keep your email address private. Be careful whom you give your email address to. Before giving your address out on an online form, check if there is a website privacy policy. This policy typically informs you of how they handle your personal information.

Signing up for free offers seen online or by email may dramatically increase your chances of receiving spam messages. Spammers scan websites for email addresses.

Therefore, be careful about where your address is listed on the Web. If you do list your email address on the Web, you could use a different format and add spaces. This makes it more difficult for spammers to retrieve your email address.

For example, instead of “,” you could use “user AT email DOT com.” Most people in online forums know this trick and use it now.You could be one step ahead of the spammers and add extra spaces, such as “user AT email DOT com.”