The Internet Survival Guide: The Great Defence against Privacy Breaches and Viruses
We often make fun of boomers or our parents being digitally inept and raging over helping them with the tiniest of matters. But then again, are we that ‘informed’ about the horrors in the digital sphere?
Countless of laptops and desktops are infected with adware and malware, simultaneously getting their information breached through intrusive ads and rogue software.
As such, the internet can and is a dangerous place to traverse and with the right knowledge, you might be able to save yourself from formatting your entire device!
What is the ‘best’ antivirus?
After the recent event of the reputed antivirus program Avast harvesting its user data, the rift between netizens and antiviruses got worse.
That being said, antiviruses have failed the test of time where most of their functionalities just do not justify their price. Windows Defender on the other hand, that comes in pre-installed on any device running a Windows operating system is more than sufficient. It integrates seamlessly well with its OS that avoids potential conflict as the nature where the program is built streamlines perfectly well with its host.
However, if you do want a second opinion, Malwarebytes and Adwcleaner which are both available with free versions do the job exceptionally well. Malwarebytes works in a way where it gives its users the option to do an in-depth scan of programs and files being downloaded to your laptop/desktop.
Additionally, Adwcleaner shines when browser hijackers have already infected your search engines. This adware removal program will remove everything malicious crippling your browsers in a jiffy, and what is great about this is that it runs on command (similar to Malwarebytes) without any background shenanigans; not intrusive and extremely RAM friendly.
We are now venturing into the grey area on the internet where the notion of right and wrong hangs in the balance. Adblockers if it isn’t obvious as it sounds, blocks advertisements.
Why do we call this a ‘grey’ area though? Well, most user-generated content like your favourite Youtubers and Bloggers get their income through ad revenues and by using an adblocker you are basically strangling their livelihood.
Ads do provide revenues for content creators, but are all ads harmless? There are countless of banner ads with malicious scripts that forcefully download unwanted programs into your device. These programs are usually the main gateway where nasties like adware and ransomware come in from; usually these rogue-programs disguise themselves as legitimate software which can be elusive.
uBlock Origin is a brilliant browser extension that is lightweight in its CPU usage alongside a filter system that allows you to segregate websites that you do not want to block ads from. This is great for websites that you frequently use and trust, as you can whitelist them by putting their URL on the filter list.
With the proper practice, you will find yourself looking at a reduced amount of intrusive ads while also allowing your favourite online entity receiving the revenue that they deserve.
Phishing and Suspicious Links
Remember the WannaCry event that terrorized large corporations worldwide? That’s what you get when you are still running that old Windows XP your grandad got for you for your 12th birthday.
In all seriousness, ransomware like WannaCry inflicts its pain on not only outdated systems but also through other vectors like emails. To be more specific, these emails are known as ‘phishing’ emails, where its original intent is to steal your digital information but has evolved into something more venomous like the said ransomware.
So it is important that internet users are able to tell the difference between genuine links and fraudulent ones. Simply opening attachments and documents without first confirming the source is the source for a world of problems.
Therefore, before you download or execute a program, exercise caution and do a pre-check or scan before letting something foreign into your computer’s system.
While this point as the end, this SHOULD be the first line of defence when it comes to internet security.
In general, most malicious programs and viruses are able to run because YOU allowed it to. Hence, having the frame of mind to not click on banner ads stating “FREE iPhone for you to claim NOW!” or downloading a program named “John_Wick_2012.exe” is imperative for Internet dwellers.
At best, try to exercise caution whenever you enter an unknown site or are about to invite something fishy into your computer system. With proper precautions, it is actually very unlikely for a system to be inflicted with a virus unless YOU allow it to.
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