Helping you balance your online life
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Oct 29th

2014

Witch's Brew - A Scary Mixture of Online Threats!




Witch's Brew Video Transcript

Don't Let your Computer Cast a Spell on You!
Your computer can be like a witch's cauldron. You never know what tricky things can be brewing in the dark underbelly of your hard drive. Popular poisons come in the form of viruses, which will attach to existing programs and reproduce to take over your hard drive space. They'll delete or corrupt files and are often disguised as games or images.

Be leery! Don't open emails or download attachments from people you don't know. Install virus scan software to keep your computer virus – free.

Worms are another common reagent, too! They duplicate and spread to other computers, finding security vulnerabilities that can slow down or stop your computer from functioning. Worms can delete hosted files, create "zombie" computers, encrypt files and send spam.

Worms are alive! Just cutting off part of the worm won't kill it completely. Use a firewall and security software to prevent worm attacks. Scan your email and use caution with emails, links, attachments, and P2P file sharing.

Also keep an eye out for hackers. These witches and warlocks dedicate themselves to breaking through computer security hardware or software, developing malware or spyware to access confidential information. Whether it is to trick or treat, hackers will hack for many reasons including challenge, personal gain, or protest.

Keep yourself vigilant; watch out for zombies! Computers can become zombie computers after being hacked or infected by a virus. These zombie computers will then commit computer crimes and infect other unsuspecting computers, all on their own. You can tell if your computer has been 'bitten' by a zombie if your inbox has mailer-daemon error messages for email you didn't send, you're asked to pass image challenges, you're getting bumped offline, your email signature has a link you didn't put there, or you're not getting any new mail. Remember, aim for the head, and use virus scan software to keep safe.

Another terror comes in the form of a Trojan horse, which is a malicious computer program disguised to be harmless. Opening a Trojan horse can give hackers access to your computer's sensitive information. DON'T open the gates for these undead steeds! Be suspicious when downloading games, programs, music, .gifs from untrusted users and anti-virus pop-up messages.

Finally, be wary of trolls – people who post online, off-topic messages, at length, to elicit an emotional response from a social media community. Trolls are often provocative, harassing or bullying. DON'T feed the trolls! Trolls enjoy the anonymity the internet provides, thus they post lewd, off-topic messages. Do not give trolls a reason to continue!

You've been warned! Don't let your hard drive bubble over!
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