Our blog will inform you on smart computing for you and your business. Please stay tuned in the weeks coming for more.
Computers have their fair share of issues. If your PC frequently crashes or gets pop-ups, then it’s probably only a matter of time before you find yourself calling a technician. You weigh the options of getting hit with a bill by your friendly neighborhood computer repair guy, or going to a large chain where the process can be similar to pulling a tooth. Computers can be a big problem, right?
Wrong. Most of the time the problem with your computer actually has to do with the person on the chair in front of it. As a matter of fact, companies like Google are constantly working to improve safety and ease of browsing on the internet. They (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, etc) actively search through the internet for malicious websites and limit or eliminate results in order to protect the user. Often when visiting this type of website, you might see a warning screen from Google or your browser that states how the website could harm your computer. Even Mac users are susceptible to certain types of attacks on your information. Though they may be less vulnerable to viruses, there are other ways to steal personal information not limited to infecting a person’s computer. In fact, viruses that infect your computer may actually be less dangerous because they seek to limit your use of the computer – while other methods of stealing personal information are directly targeted at your banking, email, and other credentials.
The simplest example is when you get an email that seems to be from someone you know- but it’s not quite right. Usually it asks you to click a link or download an attachment. These types of attacks are called “phishing” – someone has somehow gotten access to this person’s email password and is now using automated emails to collect more information on other people. The person in question, your friend or family member, may not even be aware that their email has been compromised.
Another, less common, example is a web page that looks like the real thing – but actually collects information regarding your logins. There can be websites that look like the real thing – but they’re actually not.
When you call a computer technician, you’re already dreading the bill. The guy’s got you by the neck. Most – if not all computer viruses – can be prevented with safe browsing.
Every website on the internet has an address that is usually displayed on top of your browser. For example, right now it should look something like this:
There are several parts to an internet address, common to all websites. The most important part of browsing the internet is knowing where you are – what website are you visiting? This can be determined by the most important part: The domain.
The website you are browsing can be identified by the letters between the last two periods in the address.
That means that whatever you are reading is in fact written by the person who owns the domain comfortablecomputers.com This might seem obvious – however – phishing attempts like the one described can occur by changing the address to something similar. This is a brief simplification of the issue. Point in hand:
Do you see the difference? One is a real website, and the other (at least at the time of this being written) is an inactive address that does not have anything to do with the first. They could be owned by completely different organizations which may not have anything to do with each other. This small difference can be the difference between a real website and a phishing attempt.
Feel free to click the links. Do you see the difference? With the first scenario, it is the “chase” of the “.com” type domain. In the second, it is chase of the “.net” type domains. Two totally different organizations.
Why is this important?
Websites can be replicated to seem like the real thing when they are not.
A website could be built to look exactly like the chase.com website at another domain address in order to collect your log-in info for chase.com
Always use a different password for
It can be useful to have a tier of security in your mind when using passwords to register for forums and other websites. If you have multiple emails use multiple passwords. You can always use a password manager for your browser, like LastPass to organize your passwords. At the very least, please don’t use your banking password to register for a blog on breeding bunnies. Seriously.
Always check your domain addresses.
Don’t click links from emails that look suspicious, especially if they contain unrecognized domains as outlined above. Even if they are from someone you know.
Think about your password management system.