Common Computer Threats


Drive-by and dangerous downloads--these install safe-appearing, but malicious software.  They may also run spyware or viruses or may even take control of your computer.

Keylogging records every time you press a key, such as when you enter a password for a banking website or even the Ebay website, and then allows another person access to this information.

Phishing happens when an email or pop-up tries to trick you into giving confidential information (password, bank, or credit card information) by directing you to a website that looks like your bank's or some other recognizable website.

Spyware collects personal information from your computer for people who will use it without your knowledge.

What can you do to protect yourself?

  1. Keep your computer up to date.  Install updates for Windows and updates for your other programs as they become available.
  2. Install a well-recommended internet security program.  I recommend Norton 360;
  3. Use a good web browser.  I like Firefox 3, because it warns you if a site is fraudulent. 
  4. Think, think, then think again.  A well-known and hated dictator was not wrong when he said: "The bigger the lie, the more the people will believe it."  An example of this is many of the forwarded emails we all get telling us that X will pay money for forwarded emails or that Y will destroy your computer.  If any email purports to be from a bank, ask yourself if your bank would ask for this type of information BY EMAIL.  (The answer is NO.) Then do not click on links in the email, but go to the bank's website and check it out.  Or if the email asks you to click on a link change your password for a website you recognize, do not click on the link, it will be a fraud.  
  5. Report.  If it's an Ebay fraud or a Citibank fraud, try sending the email to or  Or directly contact the fraud department of that institution.  This helps everyone because it costs everyone when someone falls prey to a malicious web user.

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