Anti-virus programs and spyware removal software have improved enough that the weakest link is now you!  Hackers have resorted to social engineering to trick people into divulging their sensitive information or clicking a link that will install a virus.  Hackers can easily “spoof” an email or website to make it look legitimate.

Here is how you can outsmart them:

Always do a reality check- Did you get an email from FedEx asking for you to go online or enter information?  Think before you act; did you actually send a FedEx package or are you really expecting one?  If not it is probably a scam!  Mouse over the link in an email to see where it will really take you.  If it is not it is malicious.  Delete the email immediately.  Look at the email below; it is not from a legitimate email address and the website is fraudulent also.

spyware and malware in email

Email Link to Spyware, Malware, or a Virus

Some common variations of these scam emails are shipping notifications, bank emails, and greeting card scams.  Also be wary of emails from people you know.  Some viruses take over a persons email account and send links to the virus to everyone they have ever emailed!  If you get an email from someone you know telling you to check out a cool link then do not click the link!  Often the link will be a long and strange web address such as:

Pause before you click:

We all see pop up windows and have become accustomed to closing them without reading what they say.  Use the red “X” to close any pop up windows.  You may see a “Close” or “OK” button on a window that will actually install a virus instead of closing the window.  Only the red “X” in the upper right corner will close the window.  Also be wary of windows that indicate you have a virus and ask you to “Click OK” to fix the problem.  Software we use will automatically fix the issue for you.

Beware of online scams:

If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.  Never respond to requests from a bank, credit card, etc. to “Verify Your Information” your bank already has your information!