In the latest of its security advice articles, AVG (AU/NZ) Pty Ltd warns users of the dangers of surfing the web.
Whatever adventure you're looking for, online or off, whether it's navigating your way along a dangerous road, climbing down a steep cliff or diving into shark infested waters, you still ensure that you follow the correct safety procedures. So why should surfing the web be any different?
Browsing the web superhighway requires exactly the same level of caution that you would take when driving on a standard highway. After all you wouldn’t drive your car without a seatbelt, so why surf the web without anti-virus protection?
Lloyd Borrett, Security Evangelist for AVG (AU/NZ), said: “The web is booming like never before and the methods of defrauding people online continue to evolve. Unsolicited e-mails announcing lottery wins or phishing correspondence asking for banking details have become the new, hot scams. Without the proper protection you could be a sitting target.”
Thousands of con artists, grafters and fraudsters are trawling the web looking for online victims, and while web users may have become savvier, scams are becoming more sophisticated.
Social web sites are a popular stomping ground for cyber criminals. In recent months Facebook and Twitter have been plagued with a number of phishing and malware attacks, leaving many users inadvertently giving strangers their private data.
Bank account details, date of birth and email addresses are valuable pieces of information. So, for those who shop online without adequate anti-malware protection you could be unknowingly handing over your financial details to online fraudsters.
Research carried out in the UK by AVG Technologies in June 2010 backs up these fears. It found that one in 10 Internet users is surfing the web without security protection and putting their personal information at risk.
AVG said that users underestimate the financial and emotional cost of losing valuable data from their computers. The study found that £718 million (A$1.2 billion) worth of downloaded music is at risk because people who store their music online do not have adequate security.
The research also revealed that men are less likely to use computer security software than women. Meanwhile, 95% of web users over the age of 50 install software which protects from viruses.
The moral of the story is that if these consumers had used anti-virus software it would have protected them against strangers tracking and stealing their personal data.
Here’s a quick guide to the top scams you’re most likely to see on the web:
Online auction fraud
Fake eBay accounts encouraging people to bid for and purchase a non-existent product
Emails that appear to have been sent from your bank warning you about identity theft and asking you to log in and verify your account information
Congratulations, You’re A WINNER
Email telling you that you’ve won a competition and directing you to visit a website and provide proof of ID
Nigerian 419 Letter
Email usually written in capitals informing you about online scammers
Online advert looking for a ‘correspondence manager’ asking to accept wire transfers into your account
As Borrett puts it, “You wouldn’t drive without the protection of a seatbelt, would you? No. So why go online without the right online protection? You know it makes sense!”
Millions of Australian and New Zealand families protect themselves on the web superhighway the free way, with AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition for the Windows and Linux operating system platforms. It delivers both anti-virus and anti-spyware protection. It also includes AVG LinkScanner® which protects against website based phishing attacks and malware. AVG LinkScanner is also now available as a stand-alone solution for both Windows and Mac users.
The Australian Government web site SCAMwatch (www.scamwatch.gov.au) contains more advice to help you recognise, report and protect yourself from scams. You can also sign up for its free SCAMwatch email alerts.
AVG (AU/NZ) has a comprehensive range of security tips on its web site at http://www.avg.com.au/resources/security-tips/.