Free Recommendations

  1. Spyware causes lots of problems.

Download Malwarebytes and run it on your computer at least monthly.  Most of the time, this solves the problem without ever needing support.  I recommend running it time after time until it finds nothing left.  Sometimes one spyware program will hide another and you will not know it until the first one is cleaned up.

http://www.malwarebytes.com  [Click on Free Download]

2.  Be cautious of public Wi-Fi networks – Before you connect to any public wireless hotspot—like on an airplane or in an airport, hotel, train/bus station or café:

  • Be sure to confirm the name of the network and exact login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate.
  • Do not conduct sensitive activities, such as online shopping, banking, or sensitive work, using a public wireless network.
  • Only use sites that begin with “https://” when online shopping or banking. Using your mobile network connection is generally more secure than using a public wireless network.

3.  How do you avoid being a victim?

  • Be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls, visits, or email messages from individuals asking about employees or other internal information. If an unknown individual claims to be from a legitimate organization, try to verify his or her identity directly with the company.
  • Do not provide personal information or information about your organization, including its structure or networks, unless you are certain of a person’s authority to have the information.
  • Do not reveal personal or financial information in email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information. This includes following links sent in email.
  • Don’t send sensitive information over the Internet before checking a website’s security.
  • Pay attention to the URL of a website. Malicious websites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com vs. .net).
  • If you are unsure whether an email request is legitimate, try to verify it by contacting the company directly. Do not use contact information provided on a website connected to the request; instead, check previous statements for contact information.
  • Install and maintain anti-virus software, firewalls, and email filters to reduce some of this traffic.
  • Take advantage of any anti-phishing features offered by your email client and web browser.

3.  Operate Under the Principle of Least Privilege
In most instances of a malware infection, the malware can operate only under the rights of the logged-in user. To minimize the impact the malware can have if it successfully infects a computer, consider using a standard or restricted user account for day-to-day activities and only  logging in with the administrator account (which has full operating privileges on the system) when you need to install or remove software or change system settings from the computer.

4.  Apply Software Updates and Enable Future Automatic Updates
Most software vendors release updates to patch or fix vulnerabilities, flaws, and weaknesses (bugs) in their software. Because intruders can exploit these bugs to attack your computer, keeping your software updated is important to help prevent infection.

5.  Use Good Security Practices
You can do some simple things to improve your computer’s security. Some of the most important are:

  • Use caution with email attachments and untrusted links. Malware is commonly spread by people clicking on an email attachment or a link that launches the malware. Don’t open attachments or click on links unless you’re certain they’re safe, even if they come from a person you know. Some malware sends itself through an infected computer. While the email may appear to come from someone you know, it really came from a compromised computer. Be especially wary of attachments with sensational names, emails that contain misspellings, or emails that try to entice you into clicking on a link or attachment (for example, an email with a subject like that reads, “Hey, you won’t believe this picture of you I saw on the Internet!”).
  • Use caution when providing sensitive information. Some email or web pages that appear to come from a legitimate source may actually be the work of an attacker. An example is an email claiming to be sent from a system administrator requesting your password or other sensitive information or directing you to a website requesting that information. While Internet service providers may request that you change your password, they will never specify what you should change it to or ask you what it is.
  • Create strong passwords. Passwords that have eight or more characters, use a variety of uppercase and lowercase letters, and contain at least one symbol and number are best. Don’t use passwords that people can easily guess like your birthday or your child’s name. Password detection software can conduct dictionary attacks to try common words that may be used as passwords or conduct brute-force attacks where the login screen is pummeled with random attempts until it succeeds. The longer and more complex a password is, the harder these tools have to work to crack it. Also, when setting security verification questions, choose questions for which it is unlikely that an Internet search would yield the correct answer.