By [http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Evonne_Roman]Evonne Roman
Anti-virus and anti-malware scams pose a serious problem for today's Internet users. Although more people are becoming aware of these risks, there are still many email users and casual web readers who don't know about the tricks and ploys scammers use to trick you into sharing information or making your system vulnerable to attack.
Despite the ingenuity of many viruses and malware, there are two basic ways most virus scams target your computer: via email or through pop-up ads. Email from unknown addresses may be dangerous, as it can include viruses in the form of attachments. Make sure that your entire management team sends out company-wide emails, warning employees of their danger. Standardize your internal processes to make a security a top priority. Pop-up ads are more likely to advertise bogus products to remove viruses you don't actually have - and then seize your personal or financial information.
There's noting more destructive to a small business than the leaking of sensitive information. Don't let that happen. Take preventative measures today! Start by addressing two of the most common threats utilized by hackers: Email Viruses and Pop-Up Ads.
Email Virus Dangers
Email virus scams are very common, and they disguise themselves well. Viruses are often sent to thousands of email addresses under the guise of a real company that you might have had contact with, such as eBay, PayPal, UPS, FedEx, DHL, or other commonly used service providers.
The email may look exactly like a legitimate email from the alleged company - or it might have typos and spelling mistakes that give it away. In either case, these "phishing" emails will ask you to take some urgent action that could endanger your computer or your personal information. For example, it might ask you to respond to email you sent, inquiring about hiring a new IT firm with your account information, open an attachment that will explain the email further, or click on a link that will take you to a site that requests your address, phone number, credit card information, or other personal data.
Opening the email could unleash a virus on your computer, or give scammers access to your PC to take credit card information or other data that would allow them to use your name and identity. If you receive an email and aren't sure if it's legitimate, contact the company directly - through the "Contact" page on their website - and ask them whether or not they actually sent the email. Most groups taking phishing very seriously and will respond quickly to these kinds of inquiries. As a rule of thumb, never open it if you aren't sure.
Pop-up Ads and Scam Anti-Malware
Scam or "rogue" antivirus software can sometimes appear in the form of pop-up ads when you visit legitimate websites (often because the website itself has been hacked by scammers). I've seen it too often: an accidental click on the wrong link corrupts data for weeks to come. Some of these bogus sites have very sophisticated designs that look virtually identical to the websites and software you use on a regular basis. These pop-ups may warn you that your computer has been compromised, listing a series of viruses or other alleged problems on your computer that their software purports to fix - for a price. Then, when you order the software, your computer will become infected with a virus or your personal information will fall into the wrong hands.
If you receive one of these pop-up messages warning you about viruses on your system, be forewarned: it's almost certainly a scam, intended to solicit cash and personal information from unwary web users. The best way to be sure, however, is to check with a reputable site like Snopes, McAfee, or Sunbelt to find out whether the notification is legitimate.
2014 And Beyond
Today's hackers are growing bolder and bolder. Unlike their forefathers in the early 1990's they use increasing complex codes, applications, and password generators to keep one step ahead of firewalls and other security measures. And while staying on the cutting-edge of virus protection is a must in today's business world, staying informed of these threats is the first step. If you don't have an internal IT department or staff, contracting your email & server protection to an outside IT services firm could be your best strategy. They'll be able to offer a wide range of customized strategies to align with your budget.
Now that you know how to spot the red flags, you won't be caught unaware the next time one of these messages turns up on your computer screen or in your email inbox.
Aqueity, Inc. is a Chicago IT Consulting Firm specializing in a full range of IT & Email protection solutions. To learn more, visit [http://www.aqueity.com]http://www.aqueity.com, or call 630-769-8700.
Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/?Protecting-Against-Email-Viruses&id=8405580] Protecting Against Email Viruses