What Threats Are You Exposed to?
Hackers and malware writers take advantage of vulnerabilities in your computer’s operating system, applications, web browsers, and media players to invade your digital privacy. With increasingly sophisticated techniques, it is difficult to stay protected from all the malicious threats that permeate the Internet. Luckily, ESET can help.
Our advanced detection technology is constantly updated to help you stay at the forefront of defending your virtual identity, especially when it comes to sensitive information stored on your computer. Remove the risk of cybercriminals exploiting your privacy to cause everything from a significant slowdown in your computer's performance to serious identity theft.
Malware writers rely on a number of techniques to gain your trust. A familiar approach is the use of spam messages. Spam includes unsolicited ads and hoaxes crafted to sound convincing enough for you to unsuspectingly download malware that infects your computers and networks. Spam authors can easily acquire email addresses and the longer you use yours, the higher the possibility of it ending up in a spam engine database. See how ESET Smart Security 4’s Antispam module can help.
Whether delivered via email or other means, targeted threats often deal with sensitive personal information. Simple precautions like not clicking unknown hyperlinks in an email can significantly reduce the risk of infection and spread of malware. Here are a few more tips for prevention:
- If possible, don’t publish your email address on the Internet.
- Only share your email address with trusted individuals.
- Don’t reply to spam messages that have already made it to your inbox.
- Be cautious when filling out Internet forms and especially wary of checkboxes, such as “Yes, I want to receive information about… in my inbox.”
Social Engineering and Phishing
A social engineering hacker attempts to persuade you to provide information that will allow him or her to use your computer or computer resources. These schemes may take the form of websites that "look" like they are a valid financial institution and ask for personal banking information. Also, be wary of legitimate-looking links that take you to websites riddled with malware.
As an example of social engineering, “phishing” involves schemes that use counterfeit email messages to deceive users into disclosing credit card numbers, bank account information, and various personal details. Criminals send emails that appear to be from a trusted source but, in reality, direct you to a fake website that faithfully replicates the legitimate site and prompts you to type in your account login information.
ESET Smart Security 4 solution detects these dangers to keep you safe.
- Be suspicious of emails from unknown senders — use a trusted security solution to scan all e-mail attachments before opening or downloading them.
- Do not discuss any important personal information via unsolicited e-mails or phone calls without verifying the authenticity of the sender.
- Understand that most legitimate financial institutions will not ask you for sensitive account information via email.
By making sure you have the most current patches issued to fill security holes in your computer's operating system and applications, you can be proactive in enhancing your online protection.
- If you use Microsoft® Windows™, subscribe to the Microsoft Windows Update Service. From the Start programs menu, open the Control Panel and select System Properties. Click on the "Automatic Updates" tab and make sure that automatic updates are enabled.
- If you use Mac® OS X, from the Apple menu, choose System Preferences, then choose Software Update. The Software Update pane (in System Preferences) lets you schedule automatic checks for updates. By default, it automatically checks for updates weekly. Mac OS X v10.5 and later allows you set Software Update to download important updates automatically.
- It is crucial that your web browser be patched as well, since this is the most widely used medium for malware distribution and hacker attacks. Internet Explorer is updated via Microsoft automatic updates. Other browser manufacturers will usually let you know if a newer, patched version is available. We strongly recommend checking all your other software applications for patches and updates as well.
Whether delivered via e-mail or other means, these forms of threats, often working with sensitive personal information. can be stopped by a combination of user vigilance and technology. Safe user habits when reading e-mail and avoidance of clicking unknown hyperlinks can significantly reduce the spread of malware.