Surfing the internet is a normal and regular part of many peoples day. We use the internet for work, socializing, banking, trading stocks, watching movies and television programs, as well as looking up super useful information such as that available on this website.
Many computers (tablets, mobile phones etc.) are supplied with an operating system. In fact, you need an operating system of some sort to run most programs and applications that you are used to. The most commonly used operating systems include Microsoft Windows, Apple OS, Google Chrome and Ubuntu (a version of Linux). All these have options to install or activate basic antivirus software and a firewall. Part of running and supporting an effective, sustainable business is staying safe whilst surfing the internet.
What is a Firewall?
A firewall is a piece of software or hardware that blocks external applications and people accessing the ports on your computer. A port is an electronic interface where data can be exchanged between your computer and external sources/systems (i.e. other computers attached to the internet). This stops files being unwantedly put on or taken from your machine. Firewalls are very useful, but can have their limitations. Hackers can sometimes bypass firewalls and still be able to attack your machine. Also, data such as viruses or Trojan horses can enter your computer by seemingly legitimate means (often attached to emails that originate from a machine that is already infected or attached to emails that are cloaked to look like they are from a familiar and legitimate business/organisation, when in fact they are not. Just think about how many times you have seen emails posing to be from banks or firms that you have never dealt with. Once on your machine, these Trojan horses can run applications that jeopardize the privacy of your files, your stored data and your machine. A good rule of thumb is that if you do not recognize or expect an email that has seemingly originate from a particular organisation, do not open it or click on any attachment until you have verified the emails legitimacy.
What is a Trojan Horse?
A Trojan horse is a term that is used for a piece of software that can be placed on your computer. Trojan horses are programs that are designed to appear like something that should innocently run on your computer. Sometimes, they are files or applications disguised behind images that appear to be the icons of popular word processing software or software for opening pdf documents. We recommend that you never open a file unless you have good reason to believe that it has originated from a legitimate and safe source. Winnings on lotteries that you and nobody you know has entered are likely to be suspicious. Once on a computer i.e. after the user has mistakenly clicked on and activated (opened) the Trojan horse, these pieces of software run to create vulnerabilities such as sending stored information on the computer, including email passwords, saved website passwords and other general information. A Trojan horse program on a computer has its name derived from the Trojan horse depicted in Greek mythology i.e. an object with malicious intentions that was introduced to a place, that was seemingly innocent and safe. We cannot remember the exact tale, but think that the horse was introduced to a walled, protected city through a gateway. The people in the city thought that the horse was a gift from one of the gods, whilst in fact it was a structure containing many soldiers that would ordinarily not have access. Irrespective of our recollection of the tale, this description should let you visualize what a Trojan horse is i.e. a virtual reality wooden horse containing soldiers that intend to jeopardize the security of your computer ‘city’. Think f a malicious email, dodgy web link or an unprotected computer port as the ‘gateway’.
What is a Computer Virus?
A computer virus is software or computer code that runs within or alongside functions of software currently installed on your computer. The outcome can be very similar to a Trojan horse, however a virus is something that relies on your computer’s current software rather than being a disguised piece of software in its own right. Virus files can be compressed (zipped) or downloaded via malicious email or links on websites.
Many websites are set up to dupe innocent visitors into clicking on malicious links. Other websites may be legitimate operations that have been hacked.
Always scan emails and attachments with a virus scanner. Often virus scanners cannot detect viruses and Trojan horse files when they have been compressed (zipped). Be very careful when opening any zipped file that originates from an external source e.g. an email or a link on a website.
A good piece of advice to help you stay secure is to delete the browsing history from your internet browser(s). You may wish to clear the history from all browsers if you use more than one. Popular internet browsers include Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Safari.
Look online for specific instructions relating to the correct way to clear the browsing history from your specific browser version. The guideline below may give you a step in the right direction, but is basically a rough guide that may be obsolete or not compatible with your browser (browsers update on a frequent basis).
- Once on your browser, hold Ctrl (the Control Key) and press H once.
- Release Ctrl
- You should now see all your history
- Select ‘Clear History’
- You will see a group of tick boxes asking you what you would like to be removed
- Select the boxes that offer security (we select all, but you may wish to leave some unchecked if certain programs rely on aspects to be saved in order to work correctly)
- Click clear
- All done!
What is the Best Antivirus Software for 2018?
As well as following some of the above advice, it is considered essential for you to have a complete, secure and powerful antivirus software (AV) is installed. We recommend that an appropriate AV is installed irrespective of the operating system used, unless it can be proven that an AV is not required. Even operating systems that some people may say do not need antivirus software e.g. Linux distributions (including Ubuntu, Red-hat and Mint) may actually benefit from having an AV program. Clam AV and Clam TK may be installed through the Ubuntu software center. Other AV exists for Linux distributions. AV for Windows, OS, Android etc. include Avast, AVG, Kaspersky, Norton and Webroot. As far as the question of what is the best antivirus software for 2018, it is hard to say. Each piece of software has its own strengths and weaknesses in our opinion. All the antivirus software discussed here is popular and usually considered a viable option by many internet users. They all have databases regularly updated, which may help you stay safe from new and emerging malicious files/programs.
If you would like to look at some possible anti virus software, click one of the links below:
Thank you for reading this article. We hope that it has helped you know how to stay safe online. If you have any questions, use the Contact Us section of the Bizzle Dizzle website and we will do our best to point you to an appropriate resource. The above is for information only and should not be relied upon without taking advice from a suitably qualified, trained and experienced IT professional. We cannot be held responsible or liable for any actions you take.
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