The Internet is like a glittering city, such as Las Vegas. On the Strip, everything is golden and shiny, while in the side streets the waste piles up and danger lurks. Just as in Las Vegas, you can protect yourself from danger on the Internet. If you want to minimize the risks, you should know all the dangers.
On the Internet, shady characters are after sensitive data and – as in Las Vegas – money. These are their methods:
- They invade your privacy using viruses, worms and Trojans to spy on you. They search for information; for example, trade secrets, names of trading partners or mobile numbers of friends.
- Using phishing e-mails, they try to lure you to counterfeit websites that look real and elicit your online banking user name and password from you. With this information, they then transfer money from your account to theirs. Others are looking for your credit card information or your login data for online auctions.
- Using spam, they want to sell you something you (probably) do not need. They don’t steal your money, but your time. Today, four out of five e-mails are spam, and the trend is increasing. It is imperative that you activate the spam filter on your control panel.
- Hoaxes warn you of dangers from the Internet and ask you to forward their e-mail and warn your friends. Sometimes they attach malware to the message, which can delete data or destroy your computer.
These are some of the dangers waiting for you online.
Tips from MELANI
MELANI, the Swiss Reporting and Analysis Center for Information Assurance has compiled an overview of the most important dangers and the most effective protective measures. Here are a few tips:
- Every computer, even a Mac, needs a firewall and an anti-virus program. You should install or activate the firewall before going online for the first time. And you should update the database of the anti-virus program every day.
- Activate the automatic update function for the operating system and programs. The updates close critical security gaps in the program code.
- Regularly back up all data on an external data storage device; for example, CD-ROM, DVD, USB stick or external hard drive. Keep the backup somewhere separate from your computer.
- The best protection is common sense. Choose a safe Password, be careful with e-mails and do not click on every link. Why should somebody you don’t know want to share $50 million with you?