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  • Writer's pictureTara Grey

Know How to Protect Yourself Online

When it comes down to it, the best protection for your computer is being aware, knowing what NOT to click on, and having a backup of your important files. Paying attention to the messages on your computer screen before clicking on them will help to keep you and your computer safe. Read the entire message and make sure you understand what it is asking of you. Don't just click 'Yes' because you want it to go away. You have to be patient with technology.

Be careful of:

1. Advertisements: Do yourself a favor and just don't click on the advertisements you see on Facebook's sidebar and Yahoo's homepage. Although ads can be just fine, many times they are hacked with malicious code and wind up taking you to malicious content (viruses/malware) instead of what you thought you were going to get.

2. Email attachments: Be cautious when opening email attachments. If the email is from someone you do not know, definitely DO NOT open the attachment. If the email is from FedEx, UPS, or USPS and it contains an attachment, DO NOT open. This is a virus. These companies will not send you attachments. If the email is from someone you DO know, but the content looks suspicious and you weren't expecting an attachment from that person, to be on the safe side, call and find out if he or she did in fact send you an attachment.

3. Links within emails and texts: As with attachments, when receiving an email or text message with a link to click on, if the sender is unknown to you, delete it. Clicking on the link can take you to a web page that will download a virus to your computer without you even realizing it. Even if the email seems to be coming from a name you recognize, check the actual email address that it's coming from. I bet the address is NOT correct. And usually the link is preceded by "Hey check this out" or something to that effect.

4. Sloppy/Broken English language: Read pop-up messages, advertisements and emails carefully. Look for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. These tend to indicate spam and scams.

All of these can lead to not only viruses and malware but Ransomware, a big concern right now. Ransomware locks your computer files and basically holds them hostage unless you pay a considerable fee to the criminals within a certain period of time. Even then, it is not guaranteed that your files will be saved. Having a current backup of all your important computer files is essential at this point. Without it, you are at a loss.

Ransomware screenshot
Example of what Ransomware looks like on your computer screen

I HIGHLY Recommend using MalwareBytes AntiMalware software for detecting and removing malware on your computer:

For more ways to stay safe online and keep your computer running smoothly, contact me for private sessions.

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