These are some scary technical times we live in. Yes, it’s very nice that everything is available with a click of the mouse button, but do you really know where that click is taking you?
Scammers are taking advantage of every hot news story out. Do a search for an issue and the results may contain poisoned links that lead to malware. The malware could be in the form of rogue antivirus software, which looks like a professional looking antivirus program and warns you of non-existent infections. The fake apps then push you to buy a license for the software to clean up the fake malware it finds. Once you’ve clicked on that link, look out. Some of the things the downloaded malware will do is steal passwords and logins by recording your keystrokes. It can install programs that will turn your computer into bot to be used in future infections of other computers. It could be used to hold your data for ransom, where the owner of the malware charges you in order to receive the removal information. In many instances, you’re reformatting your hard drive and reinstalling your programs.
So, how do you really know that the link you’re clicking on is safe? My preference is to install W.O.T. (Web of Trust) in your browser. When you do a search, W.O.T. will place a circle next to the link and it will be Green for safe, Yellow for caution, and Red for stay-away. The other thing you can do with W.O.T. is to right-click on a link on a website and choose View WOT Scorecard. That will take you to a page that shows you the ratings of the page before you actually visit it. The latest browsers are trying to help keep you safe as well, with built-in phishing and malware protection so it’s recommended that you update your browsers to the most recent versions. You can find the latest version of Firefox here, Internet Explorer here, and Google Chrome here.
Now and in the future, it’s really important to be careful about your browsing. Make sure the links you click on are going to be good for you.