We're all members of the digital age, and we all traverse the great landscape of the Internet. Unfortunately, this landscape has its drawbacks, such as computer viruses and malicious content with the only goal being to infect your computers.
One of the recent trends and ways people are spreading harmful viruses and software is through unauthorized add-ons and extensions for Web browsers, such as Firefox add-ons. Although Firefox screens their add-ons quite well, some from non-Firefox affiliated websites can cause harm to your computer.
Another trend is through ads placed on websites. The scary thing about these harmful virsus/malware is you don't have to click on the ads to become infected, simply viewing the webpage with the ad on it can cause infection.
I'm bringing this up because I want the TCC community to be aware of things they can do to protect themselves, no matter what websites they visit. TCC has not had any confirmed attacks, so do not be alarmed. Below are some suggestions I have to make your computer safer, based on what I've found to be personal benefits.
• If you're running a Windows computer, make sure to have up-to-date anti-virus software. There are many companies in this field, some offering free software and some with yearly subscription plans. Many of these programs include adware/malware protection on top of traditional virus protection. My personal favorite is Trend Micro: http://us.trendmicro.com/us/home/
• If you have anti-virus software, use it! Run a weekly virus check, pay attention to the software's alerts, and stay up-to-date.
• If you're running an Apple computer or other Unix/Linux-based computer, the likelihood of an attack against you is less, but there are still versions of anti-virus software developed for your operating system.
• Determine if your Web browser is safe. If you're using Internet Explorer, I encourage you to find a different browser, as it's considered the most unsecure of the "big four" browsers. The top four browsers in terms of security are: Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Internet Explorer. I recommend Firefox, as it allows an amazing library of add-ons that help Web surfing more secure and fun (http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/personal.html). Chrome is also becoming a household name. Developed by Google, it's the fastest browser out there, with some solid security features. However, it lacks the breadth of add-ons Firefox has (http://www.google.com/chrome).
• For users of Firefox, the following two add-ons are great at helping you keep your surfing experience secure:
- WOT, Web of Trust, plugs itself into your Web searches and lets you know if a website you're about to visit is safe, based on a number of parameters: http://www.mywot.com/en/download/ff. WOT is also available for Chrome and IE. Screenshots below:
And when you come to a malicious site (not TCC):
- Another great Firefox add-on is Adblock Plus, which blocks all advertisements. Thus, it keeps your computer safe from malicious attacks that would otherwise spread through website ads: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1865
So, please, remember to mind your Internet P's and Q's: Educate yourself, use secure Web browsers and if a website looks fishy, move on