Most computer attacks come from downloading infected email attachments, visiting questionable web sites, or clicking on unidentified links. Malware can even be inadvertently passed on by your friends and, further, spread unawares by you yourself through forwarding of infected eMail.
Be wary of any eMail that has been forwarded to you, especially one with one or more FWD’s in the subject line and those that contain attachments. Forwarding is one of the most common ways of spreading malware around the Internet, so do not let yourself become part of the problem by clicking on “Forward.” You should highlight and copy any text you want to pass along to friends and paste it into a newly composed eMail of your own. To protect your friends from “Internet web crawlers” never Forward an eMail with a bunch of your friends eMail addresses embedded in the eMail. It is prudent to protect your friends privacy and security by using the BCC (blind copy) feature on your eMails, unless it is important for a specific group to know who was copied on a transmission (e.g. BOD, MORA, etc.). Above all, be courteous to your friends and neighbors and do not send multiple eMails, to multiple recipients day after day!
When handling eMail, do not open mail from unknown senders. Do not download attachments from unknown sources. Do not click on embedded links you are not sure about. Do not click on any site offering free scans of your computer, or on any anti-virus program that is not already on your system. NEVER give out personal information such as your SS number, your bank account number, or any passwords, in an eMail, even though the request appears authentic like when a site looks just like your bank or Amazon or eBay, with a logo and everything. The site might be fake, however, and if you enter your log in and personal information it is being captured by bad guys for nefarious purposes. To protect yourself, never click any links in any emails you are not absolutely sure are legitimate. Always go to the specific site by typing the proper address (e.g., usbank.com, amazon.com, eBay.com) in your browser’s address bar from there you can safely log in and check your account or order status. Alternately, make a direct phone call to anyone requesting such personal information to verify the source and reason for the request. One of the most cost effective solutions for protecting your Window’s computer comes free, directly from Comcast or ATT if they are your Internet Service Provider (ISP), simply download the Norton or McAfee software from their web sites. If you do not have your own ISP and use open Wi Fi connections (like the Club House) you can purchase Norton of McAfee independently or use the free Microsoft Security Essentials. Microsoft Security Essentials is supported on Windows 7, and Windows Vista. If you have Windows 8 or 10, Windows Defender is pre-installed, but we still recommend the use of Norton or McAfee. The wonderful expansion of personal computers, tablets and smart phones with access to the Internet has broadened and enriched our lives. Using your computer to stay in touch with family and friends, to surf the web for information, to shop and do your banking should be a pleasurable experience. Following these guidelines will help alleviate some of the anxiety and ensure you stay safe in cyberspace.