Internet Security Tricks and Tips

Internet Security Tricks and Tips

( – Stories about people losing thousands of dollars to scammers are nothing new, but the tactics these criminals use are evolving. The internet opened a whole new world for scams, and the level of sophistication has increased exponentially.

To keep from becoming a victim, you need to recognize security risks and avoid them.


When scammers find a way to infect your computer, they may send you a request for payment to remove the malicious code. They may put code on your computer that prevents you from using it. While you might be very tempted and motivated to pay the requested sum to get your computer functional, there’s no guarantee scammers will honor their side of the bargain.

The con usually will continue even if you pay the ransom. The scammer may not remove the code and might request more money or damage your data unless you pay more.

A ransomware attack usually occurs after you download an infected file. You should never download a file from an unknown source. Always verify the file is coming from a legitimate and trusted company or person.

Malicious Code

Malicious code can take many forms, but viruses, worms, and Trojan horses are the main types. Once on your computer, these files may destroy or damage files and impact your computer’s usability. Some may also steal information and send it back to the person who created the file, or they may cause odd reactions on your computer, such as pop-ups.

You often get malicious code through downloading files. They can be attached to any type of file and download without your knowledge. You should always read user agreements when downloading files because even legitimate downloads can contain malicious code.

One of the best ways to protect against malicious code is to use and maintain up-to-date antivirus software. Make sure you always have it running and conduct regular scans of your device.

Social Engineering

Social engineering is a way for a scammer to get your personal information. It is often the first step in an identity theft scam.

This type of security risk includes phishing, where someone tries to steal your personal information by posing as a legitimate company. You may receive an email that looks like it comes from a trustworthy organization. It will usually include a link and create a sense of urgency to get you to click it, such as telling you they will suspend your account if you do not follow the link right now.

Always be cautious about emails you receive, even if they look like they are from a real company. The common trick is to alter the email slightly, so it is very difficult to notice it is not real. It’s a good rule of thumb never to follow links in an email. Instead, go to the company website in question and log in there instead.

Additional Tips for Protecting Yourself Online

Even though scammers are getting more skilled at running their hustles, there are still plenty of things you can do to protect yourself:

  • Use strong passwords
  • Use multi-factor authorization when available
  • Do not use the same password for multiple accounts
  • Always use a virtual private network (VPN) when using public Wi-Fi

The more you know about online security risks, the better prepared you can be to protect yourself. Make sure to stay current about the newest hustles criminals are using to try to steal your money or identity by periodically checking the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) tips page for valuable information.

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