More than any other area of technology, there are a number of myths surrounding the area of computer security.
Much of these myths are propagated by Hollywood movies, many are just through fundamental misunderstandings of how computer work and many are fuelled by online hearsay and Internet hoaxes.
We take a look at 5 popular myths and debunk them right here.
1. I will know if I have a malware infection
Malware is a broad term to describe a wide range of software that you really don’t want on your computer, and as such, a specific piece of malware can be drastically different to another.
Yes, some types of malware infections will make themselves abundantly obvious once they manage to infect your computer. This can include ransomware which locks you out of your computer and demands payment to let you back in. Adware – the retro malware – caused all those dodgy pop-ups to spring up on your computer advertising sex pills. Browser hijackers can make your Internet browser automatically direct to suspicious websites and spammy toolbars will make their presence felt every time you open your Internet browser.
But other types of malware are designed to be completely untraceable, and these are often the most dangerous types. Now computers are so fast, malware can run on your computer without any noticeable effect on the computers performance, which used to be some a good indicator that something was up in the earlier years.
Keyloggers for example, that record everything you type and transmit that information over to the scammer, will do everything they can to hide themselves from you. So will botnet and rootkit type malware than provide scammers access to and control of your computer.
So it is vital to run regular antivirus scans with reliable, up-to-date software!
2. Most cyber-criminals are programming experts who can “bypass” security to hack my accounts and there is probably little I can do to stop them.
We should make something really clear first of all. Cyber security is rarely portrayed accurately in TV or cinema. You know that moment in the movie when the computer guy does things like “hacking the mainframe” or “bypassing the database encryption center” as he’s typing frantically and a load of complex looking code appears on the many computer monitors lighting up his pale, spectacled face.
Well, none of it really makes any sense. It’s all nonsensical pseudo-jargon and for the most part, that isn’t really how the vast majority of cybercrime works. Sure, if you’re planning on compromising a big company, a good deal of programming know-how is probably required, but you’d be surprised at just how primitive the scams are that target the average Joe.
Most scammers need their victims to fall for a scam. They cannot conjure up some magic “hacking code” that will break-down any cyber-security you have installed on your computer.
For example, a scammer may set up a webpage designed to look like the Facebook login page (not hard to do) and then send out loads of emails containing a link to that page to see how many people they can fool into entering their login information into that page.
The point is, if you have fallen foul to an Internet scam of some kind, the chances are you made a pretty big blunder, and that’s why you’ve been compromised. It wasn’t a hacker in a darkened room somewhere “hacking” you with complex computer code. Learn the basics on how to avoid Internet scams, and you’ll be immune to a great deal of cyber-criminals out there.
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