Poor e-security can result in the corruption of files and data, loss of privacy and can enable criminals and others to access personal and financial information. E-security measures provide protection from unwanted intentional and unintentional intrusion into computers, file corruption and data loss.
A virus is a piece of malicious computer code transmitted by email, through infected downloads including new software, images, music files, infected computer devices such as a USB or when surfing the web. Viruses can damage computers, steal information and spread themselves to other computers.
A Trojan is a program which can damage a computer, steal private data, give other people access to the computer or spread a virus.
A worm is a self-replicating program that can spread without user intervention. Worms are designed to further infect computers with other types of malicious software, such as programs that send spam. A worm can spread by sending itself to all the contacts in an email program’s address book, or via a security flaw in a program or in the computer’s operating system.
The most common symptoms that a computer has been infected by a virus include:
This is not an exhaustive list and these symptoms may occur for reasons other than a virus infection. Seek advice from a computer professional if you suspect your computer may have become infected by a virus.
Spyware is a computer program that is remotely installed on computers, usually without permission from the owner, with the purpose of collecting information and sending it back to another source.
Spyware can be a minor annoyance or a serious threat to computer security. At its most aggressive, spyware can be used to steal personal information, banking details and passwords.
Adware is a form of spyware that records a user’s web-surfing habits and displays advertisements targeted to their interests. Adware is sometimes offered in exchange for ‘free’ services, such as music downloads.
Scams are ways of obtaining information or money through false means, scams target people of all backgrounds and succeed for two reasons. Firstly, a scam looks like the real thing and secondly, it appears to meet a need, offering quick cash, asking for a response to a compassionate issue, or making people feel special, for example. ‘Congratulations you are one of the lucky few chosen…
Spam is an unsolicited commercial electronic message. This includes email, instant messaging, SMS and MMS received without consent, usually advertising a product or service. Spam can waste time and lead to viruses. Although the most common place to find spam is in an email, it can also appear in online forums, instant messaging chats, newsgroups and blogs.
Phishing is the use of email or SMS to encourage individuals to reveal financial details like credit card numbers, account names and passwords or other personal information.
Phishing messages can look like genuine messages from a real bank, telecommunications provider, online retailer or credit card company. Often the message will contain an urgent ‘call to action’, such as claims that the bank account will be closed or compromised if action is not taken. Phishing is usually sent by email from falsified email addresses, but is increasingly being sent to mobile telephones and VoIP telephone services.
Pop-ups are small windows that appear in front of an internet browser. They are frequently used to display advertising, including advertising for unwanted content such as pornography. Pop-ups are also used by many websites to enable users to enter required information legitimately.
Pop-ups used for advertising can annoy users, as they can appear without notice or warning. They can also open websites which are difficult to close, or link users to other, unwanted website content.
There are a number of ways to manage pop-ups using settings on search engines or internet browsers. For example, the Google toolbar provides a free pop-up blocker that enables users to configure those websites where they want to allow pop-ups to appear, and to block pop-ups on websites where they aren’t required.
A number of popular browsers allow users to change settings to block pop-ups. Check the ‘Help’ options on these browsers for information.
There are some legitimate websites that invite users to switch off pop-up blocking software temporarily because a pop-up from that site will help the user to enter information required by the site. If it’s a reputable website, you can temporarily turn off pop-up blocking.
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