ICT Services Secure IT Keep a clean device

Keep a clean device

As internet users, we are continually bombarded with request to install *free* applications, web browsers or things that will speed up our computer. All promising to deliver an enhanced user experience.

Some of these applications are legitimate and do enhance our computing experience. However, a majority are malicious and while offering some functionality, also have a malicious intent and install second and third party components.

Here are some applications to look out for:

Viruses
Viruses are harmful computer programs that can be transmitted in a number of ways. Although they differ in many ways, all are designed to spread themselves from one computer to another through the Internet and cause havoc. Most commonly, they are designed to give the criminals who create them some sort of access to those infected computers.

Spyware
The terms "spyware" and "adware" apply to several different technologies. The two important things to know about them is that:

  1. They can download themselves onto your computer without your permission (typically when you visit an unsafe website or via an attachment).
  2. They can make your computer do things you don't want it to do. That might be as simple as opening an advertisement you didn't want to see. In the worst cases, spyware can track your online movements, steal your passwords and compromise your accounts.

Botnets
Botnets are networks of computers infected by malware (computer virus, key loggers and other malicious software) and controlled remotely by criminals, usually for financial gain or to launch attacks on website or networks.

If your computer is infected with botnet malware, it communicates and receives instructions about what it’s supposed to do from “command and control” computers located anywhere around the globe. What your computer does depends on what the cybercriminals are trying to accomplish.

Many botnets are designed to harvest data, such as passwords, social security numbers, credit card numbers, addresses, telephone numbers, and other personal information.  The data is then used for nefarious purposes, such as identity theft, credit card fraud, spamming (sending junk email), website attacks, and malware distribution.

Summary

DOsDON'Ts
+ If you didn’t go looking for the application, don’t install it.
+ Regularly update your applications
+ Uninstall applications you no longer need. 
+ Run and anti-malware tool      
- Install software through web popups or via other advertising.