Welcome to VTE web pages. Here is some information to help you on your way. Over time more useful information will be added here to assist you to get the best from your computer.
How can I avoid malware on my computer?
The first thing we need to do is to understand a little about malware and virus programs. How they get onto your computer and why someone would want to take control of your computer in the first place. To fully describe the subject would fill a reasonable volume of a book so this is only basic principles.
Originally, the motive for virus programs were to make a statement or for revenge. Sometimes it was designed to entertain or be a joke. Soon though the criminally minded saw an opportunity to cash in without very much risk. When you steal from a computer user you can’t see your victim. It somehow does not seem as serious.
Make no mistake though, there is millions of dollars at stake both in direct theft from bank accounts and also from security programs to avoid being compromised. The anti virus/malware industry is a huge money making enterprise. The last thing they wish to see is an really effective solution. There is little effort to stop the crime and what is done is too little too late.
For the private person, there is absolutely no substitute for being careful about being online and running programs you don’t understand. I sometimes ask people if they would visit USA and venture into Harlem alone. Of course they would not. If you don’t understand what you are doing, STOP RIGHT NOW! Thats right, learn how you can avoid the traps before it is too late.
I am confident I (could) use a computer with no protection and not get infected. It would take care but is possible. It is easier to take some simple precautions and be able to relax a little.
What is really at stake? Well, just your money and personal security. If you are slack, hackers (criminals) could get your bank details and remove large sums of money before you are aware of a problem. They might also take your identity and open accounts and undertake illegal activities in your name. You might even be arrested. This is NOT far fetched. It has really happened. By now you are saying is it really worth having a computer and being on the internet? Well, if you intend to be slack, (probably) NO! You must decide now to learn how to drive before you take to the road. Would you take to the road if you could not drive? Before you go online you need to learn the rules and where you can go safely. Learn what you must do to protect yourself and your family.
I will say once more, there are real and serious consequences if you don’t understand what you are doing. You should no more enter the internet unprepared than let an unskilled person do brain surgery. Brain surgery is (relatively) easy for a wel trained Brain Surgeon. If you learn how to use your computer then computers will be easy for you. If you intend to ask someone a question you don’t know the answer to, you had better be sure they actually know what they are talking about. I frequentley hear people talking about different aspects of computer and I can tell you more often than not they are confidently wrong. They do not know what they are talking about. I can’t stress anough that the subject IS complex and difficult for computer professionals to grasp. Don’t blindly believe what some backyard hobbist tells you to be a fact. He might nott be well informed.
Now lets get down to the nitty gritty. Where the rubber meets the road. You can learn enough to safely use your computer. If you buy your computer from a specialist computer supplier, they will usually take some time to assist you to get the best from your investment. DON”T EXPECT some tenage geeky kid at a department store to give you real value for money. You will get soaked on the computer and then if you need help you will get soaked again. Pay some extra money and buy from someone who knows what they are doing. Insist on quality since this is your right. Make sure you get a decent warranty. Many budget sellers offer manufacturers warranty. This is a con as the manufacturers have no agreement with you. Sometimes they goods are direct imported with no warranty. You will be left to meet the expense of replacement.
There are pages I could fill with advice about using the internet safely. I will reiterate that caution and paranoia is your best defence. If something does not seem right, then maybe it is not.
If you do not fully understand a program personally, do NOT install it on your computer. Don’t take for granted that your friend knows what they are telling you to be true. Do some simple research on the program. Finally make sure you are using a legal copy or you could be introducing a security hole into you computer. This is espesially true when the program is activated illegally with a crack. 99% of illegal cracks will install a trojan program on your computer.
If you are tempted by the promise of free music to download from the internet, be warned that this is the single most common point of entry for security breaches. If you must do this at least have the sense to NEVER use the computer for internet banking. Just about every computer that has been used to download music will be infected with malware.
What are the signs of malware? Your computer will often become slower than usual. You may see pop up adverts or messages that your computer is not secure. Your computer may freeze or crash often. There may be slow searches on the net and unusual search results. Often all you internet traffic is directed via a malware portal. In some case the internet may cease to work altogether. You might get excess data charges if you are on a cheap broadband plan.
Prevention is better than cure since there can never be a solid guarantee that the malware is completely removed. You should make sure you have a reasonable anti virus program. Most now also scan for common malware but are unlikely able to remove it automatically. Make sure you never give out your credit card or bank details online unless you are 120% certain you know who you are dealing with and the web site is certified secure. (Look for a lock graphic). If you are not sure do do it. Never answer unwanted emails or enter online contests. Don’t phone premium rate phone numbers to register for contests or to vote. There are very few exceptions to this.
No bank will EVER ask you to update your account online. Same applies for many other institutions such as Ebay and Paypal. They are often the target for scams.
A little aside here… I often go to the web sites that are phishing site for a little fun. They are not online for long so you need to be quick. I fill the form with a heap of rubbish and bogus information. Then I give a fake username and password. Since they dont know the real username or password they will accept anything in the hope that it is real. Its my little help to keep them busy looking through useless information that they can never use.
If you are careful, you can use the internet safely.
========================================================Rob Tait has been involved with computers for a long time. The company he worked for was an early adopter of technology and Rob was keen to be involved. Eventually he was assisting the sysops with the day to day hardware maintainence of the mainframe and terminal system. He still recalls the enginering section fighting tooth and nail to get the first real desktop PC’s. The first commonly used PC’s were DEC and later clone XT’s with a whopping 10MHz turbo CPU. It all grew from there with daily ditherings that continued into a private business started in 1995. Its been a wild ride and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. Rob now lives in Emu Park, a small seaside townnship not far from Yeppoon and Rockhampton. Located on the Queensland Keppel Bay it is a truly beautiful postcard scenerey place. Kind of like living in paradise all year. Currently Rob and Pam are attempting to be as green as possible. Solar grid connect and a new diesel powered car are their way to use less fossil fuel. Rob has dabbled with a veggie garden but so far its a pretty hopeless effort. He intends to get ready for another go soon when the cold weather eases off.
Robs hobbies include photography and he has an embarrasingly huge collection of LED torches and lighting. Pam reckons a green energy shop should be next venture.This might happen when Pam packs up her chalk.