We perform many “virus” removals in our store. We use the term virus as a generic term for any malware, spyware, trojans, ransomware, etc. that can be on your computer. Although they have different names and do some different things, most of the results are the same: Your computer acts slow, you get popups, and you cannot get on the internet. For that reason we run over 13 scans/fixes to get your computer back up and running to you without destroying your data or programs. Customers will ask, “How many viruses, were there……what type of viruses are there…..and how do I prevent them?” Then number and type are irrelevant: What is important is how to prevent them, since no virus program is very effective at prevention, and none are effective at removal. So to help, here is a list of places to NOT go on the internet.
Illegal, Immoral, or Too Good to be True
This is probably the starting point for preventing malware. If you can get movies or songs for free that others have to pay for, if you are visiting adult sites, or if you are seeing “great” offers that seem unreasonable, then you are putting your computer at risk of being infected. There are no free rides on the internet……when you look for them, you will get burned.
Opening Unexpected Links in Emails from Anyone
Many emails are sent out from people who you think are friends, with a link attached, and a message that may say, “Check out this site”. If you click on that link, you can be connected with a program that downloads malware on to your computer. First, the message is probably not from a friend, but from a person who used your friend’s name as an alias. Secondly, most messages that I get from my friends have some personal message and not an impersonal message followed by a link. If you get these emails, do not open the link….delete the message.
Search Engine Scams
If you are looking for something on a search engine, such as Google, and type the subject in the box, you will generally get hundreds, if not thousands, of results. On each of those results, you will see the site that you will be take to. Make sure that that site relates to the search you are performing. Secondly, if you are looking for assistance(tech support, etc.) and are looking for the company’s phone number, see if the web site seems to match the company you are looking for. Many companies can list themselves as tech support(We could put a heading of Microsoft Technical Support and list our store number.) When you call these numbers, you will many times end up talking to a person who then wants to take over your computer and check it out. If you get that request…..HANG UP. If you are really looking for support for a company, go to that company’s web site, and the find the contact information somewhere on that site.
Opening “Important” Emails from Airlines, Banks, or Credit Card Companies
You receive an email from American Airlines that says “Your flight has been booked and your credit card has been successfully charged. Click on the link for details.” Problem is, you did not buy an airline ticket and want to know what this is all about. That is a mistake….as is checking out an improper charge, or any serious request. If you are in doubt, call the airline, bank, or credit card company. None of them will ask for, or give you “important” information by email.
Clicking on the Side Banners of a Site that Offers You Something
ANYONE can buy advertising space on a web site. The companies that own the site have no problem selling space to a group that can, and will, scam you. So when you see those dancing figures that offer you discounted mortgages or “free offers”, realize that you are getting yourself into trouble.
The internet offers a world of information and entertainment. However, there are many dark alleys where you can get mugged if you wander down them. Be mindful of every time you click, and ask yourself, “Why am I going there?”. If you just do that you can greatly reduce the possibility of computer infection.