Tricky Technicians and Cybersecurity

Mike Liu on Flickr

How scammers can trick you into downloading malware onto your own computer.

You may have been taught before about viruses that can harm your computer. It’s easy to assume that everyone who appears harmful can’t be trusted. Unfortunately, there are also people out there who pretend to help you with your computer, but actually do damage instead!

These people typically have one goal; to make you feel afraid that something bad will happen if you don’t do something. What makes these attacks horrible is that there’s nothing bad with your computer; in fact, if you let them have their way, they can inflict damage.

One way you’ll see them act is on the internet. If you visit particularly shady sites, they may show you advertisements and pop-up windows claiming your computer has a virus. This is not true, though! These are set up to get you to panic and click the ad. The ad takes you to a site where you can download “antivirus software” to fix the “problems” that were detected. Don’t be fooled; this software is very malicious.

If you’re worried about your computer’s health, it’s best to download a trusted antivirus software instead of listening to advertisements. Some of the best antiviruses out there are free and easy to install. Take a peek at them and see which one you’d like best.

You may also receive calls by technicians who claim to work for Microsoft and want to get access to your computer. It may sound official and fancy, but don’t be fooled; it’s likely a scam. A Microsoft employee will never call you without you phoning them first.

Also, be on the lookout for any suspicious emails coming in. Some emails will claim your PC has had a security breach and requires a program to clean it up. It will then contain a link to software you can download to fix this “problem.” Again, there’s no way someone can tell your PC has a virus over email! Simply delete this message and don’t think about it anymore.

Similarly, some scammers on online videogames like to pose as official moderators or developers of the game. They’ll message you claiming that something is wrong with your account, and will ask for your username and password so they can fix it. Someone who runs an online game will never ask you for your password, so always assume the asker is a scammer, no matter how believable they are.

It’s very saddening that the internet is full of these kinds of people that use people’s fear to get them to do things. This is why it’s very important to be critical of everything you see online. By keeping your wits sharp and thinking things through before obeying instructions given to you, you can keep your accounts and computer perfectly safe.

The next time you, or someone you know, come across a suspicious-looking warning, be sure to take initiative and ensure that nobody takes the bait. As long as you have a proper antivirus set up and running, you can safely ignore any scam trying to convince you otherwise!

Learn More

Protect Yourself from Tech Support Scams

https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/4013405/windows-protect-from-tech-support-scams

Here’s What to do if you see a fake virus alert

https://macpaw.com/how-to/remove-fake-virus-alert

Best Free Antivirus Software 2019

https://www.tomsguide.com/us/best-free-antivirus,review-6003.html

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