Protecting your computer
From USAJOBS Help
If you do not take measures to keep your computer safe, your computerâ€”and youâ€”could become the target of a cybercrime.
Cybercrimes are those instances when criminals, known as hackers or attackers, access your computer for malicious reasons. You can fall victim any time you are on an unprotected computer, receive a deceptive email claiming there is an "urgent matter" regarding your USAJOBS account or just surfing the Web. They might be seeking sensitive, personal identification information stored on your computer, like credit card numbers or private account logins they use for financial gain or to access your online services for criminal purposes. Or they could want your computer's resources, including your Internet connection, to increase their bandwidth for infecting other computers. This also allows them to hide their true location as they launch attacks. The more computers a criminal hides behind, the harder it becomes for law enforcement to figure out where the criminal is. If the criminal can't be found, he can't be stopped and prosecuted.
There are many different threats to your computer's safety, as well as many different ways a hacker could try to steal your data or infect your computer. Once on a computer, the threat will tend to show little to no symptoms so it can survive for a prolonged period undetected. Your online security and cybercrime prevention can be straightforward. In general, online criminals are trying to make their money as quickly and easily as possible. The more difficult you make their job, the more likely they are to leave you alone and move on to an easier target. We've compiled a list of the different types of threats that are out there along with some recommended steps you can take to reduce your susceptibility to these threats, using information from Symantec, a global leader in infrastructure software that helps consumers to protect their infrastructure, information and interactions.
Computer Threat #1: Vulnerabilities
How they attack: Vulnerabilities are flaws in computer software that create weaknesses in your computer or network's overall security. Vulnerabilities can also be created by improper computer or security configurations. Threats exploit the weaknesses of vulnerabilities, resulting in potential damage to the computer or its data.
How do you know? Companies announce vulnerabilities as they are discovered and quickly work to fix them with software and security "patches."
What to Do
Computer Threat #2: Spyware
How it attacks: Spyware can be downloaded from Web sites, email messages, instant messages and direct file-sharing connections. Additionally, a user may unknowingly receive spyware by accepting an End User License Agreement from a software program.
How do you know? Spyware frequently attempts to remain unnoticed, either by actively hiding or simply not making its presence on a system known to the user.
What to Do
Computer Threat #3: Spam
How it attacks: Email spam is the electronic version of junk mail. It involves sending unwanted messages, often unsolicited advertising, to a large number of recipients. Spam is a serious security concern, as it can be used to deliver email that could contain Trojan horses, viruses, worms, spyware and targeted attacks aimed at obtaining sensitive, personal identification information.
How do you know? Messages that do not include your email address in the TO or CC fields are common forms of spam. Some spam can contain offensive language or links to Web sites with inappropriate content. Also, some spam may include hidden text that only becomes visible if you highlight the content -- a common trick spammers use to get their email to pass through spam filters without detection.
What to Do
Computer Threat #4: Malware
How it attacks: Malware is a category of malicious code that includes viruses, worms and Trojan horses. Destructive malware will use popular communication tools to spread, including worms sent through email and instant messages, Trojan horses dropped from Web sites and virus-infected files downloaded from peer-to-peer connections. Malware will also seek to exploit existing vulnerabilities on systems making their entry quiet and easy.
How do you know? Malware works to remain unnoticed, either by actively hiding or by simply not making its presence on a system known to the user. You might notice your system is processing at a slower rate than what you are used to.
What to Do
Computer Threat #5: Phishing
How it attacks: Phishing is essentially an online con game, and phishers are nothing more than tech-savvy con artists and identity thieves. They use spam, malicious Web sites, email messages and instant messages to trick people into divulging sensitive information, such as bank and credit card information or access to personal accounts.
How do you know? Here are four ways to identify phishing scams:
After you open and run an infected program or attachment, you might not notice the impacts to your computer right away. Here are a few indicators that might indicate your computer has been infected:
What to Do
If you believe you received a phishing email, were lured to click on the link or download a program and are concerned you may have some type of malicious program installed on your computer, here are some things you may want to check:
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