Nowadays, hackers are looking for ways to harm us for their benefit. Their methods are getting more advanced by the second, there were countless times that Antivirus programs failed to detect these viruses because of their methods, but we’ll talk about that later. There is one thing that we’ll have to look at first, how can we protect ourselves from them, their tricks, and their viruses?
Well, in overall, there are only three steps to take.
Use your head.
Know the basics.
No amount of security and knowledge would be able to help you if you’re just going to click on any suspicious looking ad, email, link, and anything in between. Use your head and apply common sense to everything that you do online if you got an email with a file that does not seem to concern you, don’t open it, it could be a virus, or the sender is trying to scam you in some way.
In overall, think before you act. There are various methods for someone to scam you while escaping from your Antivirus protection, so in these situations, all you have left to protect yourself is your brain.
Using security programs can protect you from security exploits and malicious programs, in some cases, they are also able to detect scamming websites.
I know what you’re thinking, this is an article that talks about protection against scams, how are security programs related to this? Hackers can also use viruses and malicious programs to scam you, and security applications are likely to detect the suspicious behavior of these programs. So, there is no doubt that using security programs will be a big help, if not absolutely necessary.
The ideal amount of protection and the easiest one to set up is to use an Antivirus such as AVG and an Anti-Malware such as MalwareFox. Using two Antivirus programs or two Anti-Malware ones, will not provide you with any extra protection whatsoever, not to mention that it can actually be worse as that will likely cause slowdowns and conflicts between the programs.
Using one Antivirus and one Anti-Malware is necessary because the two of them are detecting different kinds of malware. An Antivirus is your old school security program, it will detect only viruses and malware that have been around for a while and it will be hard for a new kind of malware to enter its list.
On the other hand, an Anti-Malware is always looking to protect you from new kinds of threats and even those that were created on that same day. In some cases, an Anti-Malware can put a malware on its list before the malware is even created.
And that is why you need both an Antivirus and an Anti-Malware, to protect yourself from both kinds of threats, the old ones, and the new ones.
As mentioned before, you’ll need to have a bit of common sense on the Internet to survive, but that’s not nearly enough. Some hackers have managed to make their scams look totally legitimate, if you’ve never heard of their methods, your common sense might not save you, so it would be better if you at least knew some of these methods to be prepared, I’ll cover some of the most widely famous methods of scamming that look real and that they are slightly harder to detect than your average scam.
Phishing is the act of pretending to be someone else to fool the victim into trusting you, this is a method that hackers use to bypass your security so that they can steal your information and your money. For example, you might receive an email that says, “your order is approved, please insert your credit card details so that we can ship the item to you.” Then you’ll click on the link, and you’ll get redirected to their website, that website will likely be a look alike of another legitimate website so that it can fool you into trusting the hacker, and so that you can send your money to them.
This is where you need to use your head, did you purchase anything online? From where? Does that website ask for details in that way? What about the URL address? Does it look like the real thing? If you pay attention, you should be able to identify the scam, chances are that your security programs won’t do anything against this sort of scam, they are unable to detect it as there is no virus to be detected.
In some cases, this is a legitimate thing, but it’s still considered a scam and it would be for the best if you stay away from it. A fake service or product could be either a legitimate service that is just way too overpriced and not that helpful or a fake one which requires a form of payment to earn it.
You’ll fall to these mostly by malicious ads and redirections from suspicious looking websites, such as pirating websites or something similar. For example, you click to get your torrent and another window pops up which advertises the product to you, let’s suppose that it is a mobile game, in order to get it, you must input your phone number. There is no price visible, thinking that you have nothing to lose, you give your number, and you might or might not get a game, but you will surely get a message on your phone saying that you subscribed to a monthly service or something that charges you a small amount, the first payment is already made.
Looking back on it, you can see that a price was stated, but it was stated in really small letters, it would be impossible to spot them at first glance. But, at the end of the line, they have notified you about the price beforehand, so you can’t take any legal action, be wary of this.
This can be spotted from an Anti-Malware and some Antivirus programs, but keep your eyes open just to be safe. The Ransomware virus will encrypt all of your files and it’ll ask for a ransom in order to give them back to you. The hacker will likely pretend to be your savior and he’ll say something like “we’re an honorable company and we would love to offer our decryption services for the price of $300”.
Chances are that you’ll get the virus from an email that contains the malicious Word file, once you open the file with Microsoft Word and you enable Macros, the party will start. To escape from this scam, it is advised to both use your head, and have an Anti-Malware with real-time protection, if you don’t have real-time protection the virus will be removed after the encryption, by that time, it will be too late.
Mohit Sharma is a content developer at MalwareFox.