Your computer can be a window to your personal life for hackers. Without the right protection, your financial information, personal identifying information, and other sensitive data could be theirs. The good news is protecting your computer is as easy as installing quality anti-spyware and antivirus software and knowing the warning signs of attempts to steal your information.
What are anti-spyware and antivirus software?
Antivirus software prevents malicious content from being installed on your computer, and in case a virus slips through the cracks, it regularly scans your files to detect and remove the virus.
Just like antivirus software protects against viruses, anti-spyware protects your computer against spyware. Spyware is a type of malicious software that monitors a user’s computer activity, collects information about a user without his or her knowledge, and then provides that information to a third party.
Don’t have anti-spyware or antivirus software?
If you’re looking for a new solution, check out a list of the best free software here. When it comes to free anti-spyware and antivirus software, be sure to do your research before installing. Scammers are known to disguise viruses and other malware as free software. An alternative is to purchase one of the many reputable, paid options available if you are unsure about downloading a free program.
Once you have installed your software, it’s extremely important to keep it up to date by installing updates as soon as possible.
More isn’t always better.
It only seems logical that the more anti-spyware and antivirus software you install, the safer you’ll be, but that isn’t actually the case. Using too many of these programs or the wrong combination can actually result in greater vulnerability due to them preventing each other from scanning your files. They can also cause your computer to operate on a much slower level. Learn more about coordinating virus and spyware defense here.
What are the warning signs?
One common way spyware, viruses, and other types of malicious software are unknowingly installed on a computer is when the user downloads files from untrustworthy sources, such as opening an attachment in a phishing email.
Phishing is a common tactic scammers use to obtain your information that can take place online, through text messages, and even in person. Scammers are known to pose as someone you might trust and scare you into giving them your information. One example of this is scammers sending you an email pretending to be an employee of your financial institution. They might tell you your debit card is frozen, but that it will be reactivated if you give them your PIN. Learn more about how to detect and avoid phishing scams here.