Drive-by Downloads – Unseen Intruders

How can you protect yourself against something that you cannot see? A Drive-by download occurs when a compromised website downloads malware to your computer. This usually occurs while visiting a website that appears legitimate, but, in reality, is fake and will attempt to download malware, steal personal information, or hold your computer data for ransom. Unfortunately, it can be very hard to tell which websites are safe and which sites to avoid.

Criminals target users by any means possible. It is not always an email from an unknown user with a link you can’t trust. Social media sites and instant messages can also contain these malicious links. In additions, hacker can hijack sites that you frequent with links that may appear to be legitimate.

It may seem like the web is no longer a safe place. However there are a few things that can help to protect your computer while you continue to use the internet.

  • Do not click on random links. If you get a link from a strange email address, it is easy to disregard it. However, you should also be wary of links that appear to come from your friends. Not everything is as it appears online. If you didn’t ask for that link from your friend, you probably shouldn’t click on it without first checking that it was truly your friend or colleague who sent it to you.

  • Make sure to install the latest software updates for your computer. When Windows says it has an update, you should install it. The same is true for your web browsers, JAVA, and other programs that you use that access the internet. While you’re updating your software, make sure that you have current anti-virus software installed.

  • Try to limit your use of script-based websites (like Javascript). If you must use this type of media, try installing a click-to-play program from your browser. Websites will not be able to run their script automatically which affords you more protection from malicious scripting.
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