Advanced digital technology has reached a point where it has become a key and inseparable part of our lives, but it is not without its caveats. With so much potential, both in terms of creativity and exploitation, it is only natural that those of less than scrupulous morals have openly sought out digital devices as an avenue of exploration. Here we want to go over two of the most common security threats which can be avoided with just a little knowledge and work.
Beware Software Installation
One of the best possibilities afforded by this modern age is the sheer range of software available free for download. Almost anything possible through programming can be found quickly and easily online, with free versions mirroring so many paid counterparts. The issue here is that those which are ostensibly free can come with hidden additions designed to take advantage of the technologically unaware.
The most common form of intrusion in this means, which we have experienced multiple times as designated family tech support, comes from the installation programs themselves. When installing a free program, it’s almost always the case that they offer some type of custom or advanced installation setting. This is important because many free programs support themselves, knowingly or not, by allowing malicious programs such as toolbars to piggyback on their install packages. Because of this, it is always important to ensure you don’t rush through installations, pay attention, go as deep as possible, and deselect anything which is not the exact program which you downloaded.
The second most common issue which we’ve had to deal with in computer repair is that of phishing. This idea is usually a modern form of mass messaging designed to trick users into clicking something dangerous, sharing private information, or accessing financial details around credit cards or online payment accounts. This is generally performed through the shotgun approach, sending out thousands or millions of generic messages or advertisements until they stumble across somebody unaware enough to act as a target.
Where there are also other forms of phishing, such as the spear phishing approach, the idea remains the same – to trick users in order to take advantage. The best bet here is to be extremely hesitant when receiving unsolicited mail and only open that which you know has been sent by those you trust. That said, as these scams grow increasingly complex, there are dedicated online guides and services which have proven immensely helpful in reducing phishing efficacy for you and the people you care about.
Don’t Forget Your Biggest Resource
Perhaps the biggest advantage of these security exploits, if you can call it that, is just how common and widespread these are. This means that whenever you receive or stumble across something suspicious, a simple Google search will often be enough to reveal the true nature of your received program or phishing attempt. At this point, almost everything dangerous you have received will have been similarly received and reported by dozens or hundreds of others, so don’t forget the biggest resource you have.
Be diligent, be wary, and you’ll be setting yourself up for a much safer and more secure digital future.