With sites like facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc… the internet has become the go to place to keep in touch with friends, family and business associates alike. It’s no wonder there are more and more villains out there trying to ruin your web browsing experience. There are thousands of instances of viruses, spyware, and malware out there right now, and thousands more are surfacing each and every day! The objective of this article is to hopefully assist you in your quest to “SURF SMART!”
The first and foremost component to “surf smart” is to remember; if you think it’s too good to be true – it IS! Let’s try a quiz – you receive an email from someone and the basic premise is: if you forward this email to 100 of your friends, Bill Gates will send you $5.00!!! No really, I just got my check from Bill Gates! What do you do? If you answered I forward the email! I’m sorry; you cannot surf smart – Please cease reading this article immediately. Forwarding this email will only annoy the 100 or so of your friends you actually forward this to. If you continue forwarding these emails, it will ultimately get your emails blocked, and eventually you will be sent to an island to live alone as a pariah. So, please, save all of us the trouble and just delete the original email in the first place.
Second, do NOT click on ANYTHING that asks you to install software if you did not want to install software in the first place! Be extremely cautious of pop-ups telling you “your computer is infected”, or “click here to clean your computer”. Nobody is nice enough to tell you “hey, your computer is infected but if you click here, we’ll clean it FOR you!” It’s just a scam…. you click the link, give them your credit card number, and wallah – that pop-up goes away. Ahhh, but wait, in another day, a DIFFERENT pop-up will appear telling you your computer is infected with something else, and the vicious cycle continues. Another tip: read the entire pop-up before you do anything. Some pop-ups will say, click NO to install. You immediately see a pop-up and think, NO, don’t install anything… well, by clicking NO, you actually said YES! Heathens!
While on the topic of pop-ups, be very, very careful of the mouse cursor when you hover over one. If your cursor turns from pointer to hand, DO NOT CLICK! ￼ When the cursor is a “hand” it is showing you that what you’re hovering over is a link. By clicking this “link” you will most certainly be directed to a website hosting malicious (read: DANGEROUS) code, and your computer will be infected, and you will have to call your (insert relative: son, daughter, cousin, grandson, granddaughter, nephew etc.) to fix it. The best practice at this point, click START>SHUT DOWN and shut down the computer. Live to surf another day! Remember, if you don’t click on it, it can’t install itself. It needs your help. You must click for it to install so, it’s the absolute opposite of the seat belt law slogan – DON’T click it, NO ticket!
If you do find yourself infected and you happen to be computer savvy, you can simply go to Google and type in what you are seeing. For example, type: “annoying 2012 antispyware security popup” – you will get results and see how many other people fell victim to the same thing you did. There will be sites that can tell you how to remove it, how to disable it, how to protect yourself. This is nothing to be ashamed of. It happens to everyone at least once. You should be honored if you only get bit by something like this once. Hopefully, by sharing this information, I have helped you to surf smart!
Billy Veraszto, Vice President of Technology, LLoyd Staffing