Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

{Virus Software Can Be } {Wolf in Sheep's Clothing }; Warning to All Web Users to Be Vigilant

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

{Virus Software Can Be } {Wolf in Sheep's Clothing }; Warning to All Web Users to Be Vigilant

Article excerpt

Byline: KIMBERLEY SMITH

CLEVER technology, and a bit of common sense, may be protecting daily Internet users from email spam, online shopping rip-offs and Internet fraud, but a local expert says scammers will always be one step ahead.

In a fast-paced society where technology is as much a part of our lives as eating and sleeping, the very tool that helps us in our daily rituals could also do us great harm.

Rick Neland, manager of Lismore's Advanced Computer Support, said Internet users needed to take the necessary steps to protect themselves.

"It can be easy to be fooled into money-making scams, email spam and bogus anti-virus software are both prevalent issues that people need to be made aware of," Mr Neland said.

So what are these scams and how do users protect themselves from them?

Mr Neland said fake anti-virus software was growing whereby users would receive links offering 'bogus' anti-virus software and then demanding money if the user accepted.

"It is ironic that the very thing built to protect our computers can also result in the opposite if users do not do their homework," Mr Neland said.

Mr Neland said if Internet users were unsure they should seek advice from local computer businesses.

"Spyware, spam mail, and hijackers are all potential threats to your computer so Internet security packages will protect you from all of these," Mr Neland said.

He had seen some bad case scenarios in the past, but it all came down to common sense and making informed decisions.

"If you're not sure then stop and talk to someone that does know what to do, or most importantly what not to do," Mr Neland said.

Those annoying pop-ups, 'you've won' or 'click here to collect you're prize', can be misleading, and Mr Neland said only one thing should be done.

"Click the exit button on the top right-hand corner of the pop-up. As soon as you click on the page, you have initiated a link which will probably lead to more pop-ups," Mr Neland said.

When it comes to email spam, if you don't know what it is then ignore it, and most of all do not open any attachments from suspicious emails.

"As soon as you open the attachment a virus may be downloaded. Users should have an email program, such as Outlook, that has a spam filter built inside," Mr Neland said.

"People also need to be cautious when downloading pictures and music as many programs are not protected against viruses, and could even be a virus itself."

Senior Constable Michael Hogan said many Internet scams were coming from overseas with many originating in Nigeria.

"A common scam at the moment is a hoax email from an overseas subject stating they have lost a family member and have a large sum of money, in the millions, which they need to deposit into an account," Mr Hogan said. …

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