When it comes down to spyware, viruses, and phishing scams, any personal computer can become a target to take your information, sell it, and make your digital life a living nightmare. To make sure you're in the know, we've adapted Giz's excellent roundup of computer myths
and emphasized a few more of our own.TOP 5 COMPUTER SECURITY, DEBUNKED
1. Macs can't get viruses. Oh yes they can. Buffer exploits, trojans, and other malicious codes can put your computer on lock down. While the PC share is still running high at 90%, the more popular Mac computers get, the more likely they'll become a target in the future. So proceed with caution, don't click random links, and avoid software piracy.
2. My e-mail inbox is spam-free. If you think you've never received a single spam address, you've either never publicly used it for e-mail or have your spam filter turned off. Make sure it's on. Otherwise, you're just asking for a flurry of phishing e-mails to come into your mailbox.
3. We're getting better at virus protection. One would think that with more complex software systems that we'd be improving on all fronts, especially security. Wrong. The more the complex the system, the easier it is to poke holes it in, or - in McAfee's case, mistakenly identify a critical system process as a virus and screw everything up. Antivirus software is good, but one must be educated catch it when it trips up.
4. Phishing only happens to other people. Someone trying to steal my social security number and Facebook password? In a million years! This kind of mentality is fresh meat for identity thieves and will get you into a lot of trouble. Ever get a random Facebook App invite from friends you rarely ever hear from? Chances are they've fallen victim to malware and are now virtual zombies in your Facebook friends pool. Again, don't click any links that even hint at something fishy.
5. My hard drive is safe. Again and again, we've spoken to people, even CEOs of companies, who fail do to the simple act of backing up their data. Back up your data. Not only will this make your life much less of a nightmare when any of the above were to occur, but the average hard drive life is barely ten years - though many of us here have seen them as short as two. Always make sure you've got your important stuff on in at least two places.
Got a computer security tip to share? Let us know in the comments!
[Adapted from Gizmodo]