Stay safe online
Simple steps to protect your online presence
"My computer has good defences - I should not need to worry."
Your computer has several lines of defence against infections: Windows firewall, Windows Defender, and User Access Control.
A good third party anti-virus adds "on access scanning", real-time protection to web use, email scanning, and on demand scans.
Its too easy to become reliant on your anti-virus, and believe your pc is safe from malware.
No anti-virus software will give 100% protection against YOUR mistakes.
In fact some malware can turn off or even uninstall your anti-virus, but make it look as if its still working. The ONLY way to stay safe from malware is to be aware of the risks and use safe practices when connected to the internet.
Why is using the web risky?
Because the aim of unscrupulous criminals is to get money with as little effort as possible; they dont need to break into your house and steal your property, then have the hassle of selling it if they can just get the money from you directly. They dont need to sell you drugs or stolen property if they can get money for nothing, with very little risk.
How can they do that?
One way is to mislead you into giving them money. However there are also ways they can get money from others by providing information about you, or even just getting you to visit a page. On other pages I'll talk about other hazards - links, downloads, helper programs and - perhaps the most important - hazards in email.
Payment for a click!
Some advertising or selling sites like this one (right) will pay the "referrer" a small sum when they are visited. All they want is for you to read about (and possibly buy) their product.
Because the bad guys can get money this way they have devised tricks to get you to visit pages you never intended to; this is "clickbait"
"Clickbait" is copy material specially designed to interest you and tempt you to click a link for "more information".
Here is an example - why would you want to put a rubber band around a door handle? A few seconds to see why wont hurt so we click on it.
Right you will see the page that the link takes you to.
We are ALREADY becoming less suspicious. However the page you land on "21 Simple Home Repair Hacks To Save Your Time And Money" has some new features; A LOT of "clickbait" links like this one - such as the "9 celeb couples"; and a box asking to "allow notifications". (more later)
The title has already "primed" you for 21 clicks. The more you click the less cautious you become, until eventually you click on a link you really should not have clicked. This is where clickbait becomes more dangerous. Bear this in mind; a link that indicates it will take you to a safe (or seemingly innocuous) site may not do so.
Another example - again from the opening page in the edge browser!
Notice it says its an ad. The criminals have paid for it to be shown to you. Out of altruism? No, they will expect a good return on their investment!