1. The first myth is that you’re safe from acquiring viruses online if you don’t visit any questionable sites or participate in any file sharing.
That’s absolutely false. Many people online have their computers infected by simply visiting legitimate sites, such as sites that carry news updates and online video postings. This can happen in many ways, but one of the more common ways can be from the user clicking on questionable advertising links displayed to them while they are viewing content from these legitimate sites. And then they are led off their original path onto a questionable site. A site that may already be infected with malicious software or just may simply be offering something free, such as games that are really Trojans in disguise. Another way is by a “Drive-By Install”. Which is simply when you visit a webpage, it loads up and while doing so, it also exploits a weakness in your browser’s security and installs malicious software without your consent. The symptoms might be instant, but could also take a little time before you start seeing unusual activity, such as pop ups claiming that you are infected with some type of virus. With the goal usually being to attempt to trick you into purchasing some useless software package to clean something that they either tricked you into installing or by installing without your consent in the first place.
2. If you have an antivirus utility installed, you’re safe from viruses.
This is another false myth. Even with a antivirus utility, a heavy firewall and all of the latest operating system updates, you still can easily get infected with Trojans, viruses and similar malicious programs. An antivirus utility might slow a virus down, but that depends on the particular antivirus utility and it’s update status. Usually in many situations, the antivirus utility doesn’t do enough to stop the Trojans and viruses. And it acts as more of a “Clean Up After The Fact” utility, which is usually a little late after the damage has been done and you’re having trouble accessing even the simplest things on your system.
Having the latest updates for your operating system will help as well, but there are always other exploits just waiting to be implemented online. Always remember, for every lock, there are always multiple keys and ways to open that lock. In this example, your computer is the lock and someone with bad intentions is attempted to get into it, and do things that you don’t want done. One of the best strategies to use online is to be careful and pay attention to what you are doing. That sounds very simple, but it appears to be a fading art. Somethings just aren’t meant to be free. Downloading music from file sharing sites can be risky, legally and from a security standpoint. The files can be bundled with viruses, without your knowledge. And the same goes for downloading video files from file sharing sites. Now that’s not to say that all of the files are bad, but that there will definitely be some bad apples in the bunch.
Those were just a couple of examples, but there are many more that I will cover at a later time.