The US government had kept hundreds of thousands of Internet users infected with DNSChanger online. And they announced they would stop doing so, rendering many with a connection they could not use. How many users would be affected? A few hundred thousand. OH, NO!
Well, the event came and went and no one seemed to notice. The education spread by the security industry, operators and the news media had been enough to keep the consequences to a minimum. Maybe the computers that were affected probably weren’t being used? Maybe the affected users have no way to complain? Not likely in this connected world. But in the end, only a few hundred thousand machines were affected. A drop in the bucket.
But later the same week came news of leak of over 450,000 Yahoo! passwords. Again alarm bells went off. Some of the same people who were pointing out that DNSChanger only affected a drop in the huge Internet bucket were now informing all users everywhere of a huge security problem. Maybe because so many millions of users have had a Yahoo! account at some time this story seemed even bigger than it was.
The fact is that both of these events were a big deal to those affected. But not many people were affected, percentage wise.
For the great majority of Internet users, the scares reported on the news are just that: scares. However, if you follow a few precautions, most of those scares will never affect you. So what do you actually need to worry about? Here are 3 big things.
Use strong and UNIQUE passwords for each account you really care about. We recommend this system. Never use the same password for your work and home accounts. Never use a password that any friend or family member can guess—or a word that appears in a dictionary.
2. Keep your system updated and protected.
Updated system, application and security software are your best protection from most threats. Unless you are a systems administrator for a country that builds nuclear weapons, this will protect you from 99.9% of the attacks you might face. Our free Health Check makes keeping your PC patched and protected easy.
3. Think before you click.
Never click “install” or “run” on any software you did not seek out. Never click on a link in an email, even on your phone; they can be as dangerous as attachments. Go to the site directly instead. And if a link on a website or a social network seems too good to be true—if it’s super sexy or gossipy or offers something for free—assume that it is too good to be true.
We’ll keep you updated on odd threats as they come up. But with these basic precautions you can expect to connect easily whenever and wherever you want.
[CC image by Anonymous9000]
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