Computer Data Protection – Myths and Facts
Going online unprotected is like driving a car without wearing a seat-belt. Online fraud is on the rise and we should continually try to stay one step ahead of the organized cyber-criminals. As the internet is a global village, so should our efforts to stop online fraud be a combined global effort. This asks for consumer awareness in taking steps to secure our computer’s data protection.
I have disinfected hundreds, if not thousands of PC’s since working in the IT field. Most of them running an antivirus program or some internet security suite. The myth about hackers taking over your PC is very much alive. Most Personal Computers though are not being actively hacked. Almost all of the time it is the user himself who unknowingly installed the malware, spyware, Trojan, virus etc.. on their PC, be it their home computer or a computer at work.
The most common user mistakes
- Click on an e-mail attachment from an unknown sender
- Click on links posted on dubious sites
- Click on MSN untrustworthy links
- Downloading free music from P2P sites
- Click on pop-up ads
No or expired antivirus programs
The positive thing about these kind of infections is that you can see that your PC is not behaving like it should. Nowadays, the most common infections are pop-up warnings from various rogue antivirus programs. They present you with countless pop-ups telling you that your PC is infected and suggest you to click their link to pay for a disinfection program. First step would be to disconnect your PC from the internet, that way no data can get transferred from your PC to an ftp server or other on the Internet.
The problem with this kind of infection is with what you don’t see. Depending on the severity of the infection, the spyware might have installed a keylogger in the background. If you have sensitive data on you PC and would rather be safe than sorry, I would advise formatting the hard drive and reinstalling the OS.
Taking care of protecting you PC against viruses and spyware is one thing, but what if your PC got infected without giving you any visual signs that something is wrong. You would be oblivious to the danger and the cyber-criminal could silently execute his or her program in the background in order to steal your data or everything you type. Sounds scary, but it does happen more than you might think.
That is why you should have another line of defense to protect your data from this kind of malicious activity. Imagine a program that would prevent your data from being monitored and then transferred to an attacker’s server even while your PC is infected.