Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
With Valentine’s Day just a few heart beats away, millions of e-cards and messages will be flying through the Internet. But these low cost, eco-friendly expressions of affection can expose your home computer to security threats.

Internet security software distributor AVG (AU/NZ) warns that criminals are using this increasingly popular medium to deliver viruses and other malware to the computers of their unsuspecting victims. Because risky e-cards are typically made to look like they have been sent from a trusted friend, they fool the recipient into opening them.

Lloyd Borrett, Marketing Manager of AVG (AU/NZ), said. “Most people will automatically open an e-card if it’s from a friend or colleague. To protect yourself from unwanted attention from cyberspace be very careful what e-cards you open and what you forward on.

“While receiving an anonymous card from a Valentine can be exciting, opening an anonymous email with ‘I Love You’ in the subject line could be courting disaster. Don’t let some nasty piece of malware worm its way into the heart of your computer.”

Only a tiny percentage of e-greetings will contain a security threat but many PCs will be damaged or compromised. This results in not only lost documents, emails, photos and so on, but compromised PCs often become unwitting distributors of spam or their owners may become the target of identity theft.

Following AVG (AU/NZ)’s five practical tips will minimise the risk of becoming a victim of online fraud or cyber criminals this Valentine’s Day:

1. Don’t open attachments: legitimate e-cards should be links to a company website that then direct you to your card.

2. Identify legitimate messages: Don’t open any message with a disguised name, such as Your Friend or A Secret Admirer, or one from an unknown web site address. Watch for misspelled words or names.

3. When in doubt, delete: It’s better to do that than open your system to a virus or spam.

4. Know where you’re going online: Use free security software that detects and blocks web sites that push online scams, adware installations, attachments filled with viruses and other malicious downloads which could harm your system. Access AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 9.0 with LinkScanner technology here: www.avgfree.com.au

5. Always read the fine print before accepting any terms: Some e-card scams list in their terms that they can send email to everyone in your address book.

Because spam e-mail and attached malware has increased to such intrusive levels, for the continuing safety of your home computer, AVG AU/NZ recommends anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall software as essential, minimum protection.

“Using home computers safely has become very much easier as everything that’s required is now affordable and easy to install,” Borrett said.

As an example, the AVG Internet Security 9.0 full suite solution is an excellent Anti-Virus, Anti-Spyware, Anti-Rootkit, Two-way Firewall and Anti-Spam protection software for all of your computer system needs. Carbonite Online PC Backup is cost effective insurance against the loss of documents, photos and all other valuable files.

“And, importantly, ensure your security and backup software is current by using automatic updates and that it is licensed, installed and running properly at all times,” Borrett advised.

For more AVG security tips, see http://www.avg.com.au/resources/security-tips/


Valentine's Day, internet security, e-cards



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