Just about everyone will be familiar with the power of the Internet and the great things it can offer. Whilst it is true that the Internet offers 24-hour access to an endless wealth of information, as well as a vast number of entertainment options, there is a dark side to the Internet as well. Every computer user should be concerned with avoiding spammers and hackers who write malicious code intent on wreaking havoc on your computer or trying to obtain personal information about you.
Of course avoiding spammers and hackers is not always as easy as it sounds. For one thing, anyone who has an email address is likely to receive at least some spam, and some of that comes embedded with nasty surprises like viruses and Trojan horse programs.
So let us take the subject of avoiding spammers and hackers one step at a time, beginning with the growing problem of spam.
Giving spam the boot
Over the past few years spam has grown to be such a problem that junk email can now outnumber legitimate email, and the situation is only expected to get worse as time goes by. Whilst spam is annoying for all computer users, it is thought to cost corporations millions of dollars in both server space and wasted productivity.
Fortunately, there are a number of steps computer users can take to reduce the number of spam emails they receive, including:
1) Do not respond to a spam email. Many spam emails will contain an unsubscribe link, but instead of unsubscribing you, clicking this link will just verify to the spammer that they have found a valid email address. In almost every case, responding to an unsolicited email will simply result in more spam.
2) Delete the email at once. The best way to deal with spam is to simply delete it without reading it. That is because some spam contains viruses, adware or other malicious code. The safest thing to do is to send the spam to the trash and then empty the trash folder.
3) If you shop online, create a separate email address for your online shopping. Many merchants, even legitimate ones, sell email addresses to others. Keeping your main email address private through the creation of a separate online shopping identity is one of the best ways to avoid spam.
Staying ahead of the hackers
Keeping a step ahead of hackers and other nefarious Internet users takes some skill, and a lot of common sense. Perhaps the most important thing Internet users can do is to run a good anti virus program and keep it up to date. Updating your anti virus software on a regular basis is probably the best way to protect yourself against hackers.
Another important step you can take to prevent hackers from stealing your personal information is to keep your operating system software, and your web browser, up to date. Keeping your computer up to date, through a combination of anti virus updates and operating system updates, is one of the best ways to keep hackers, spammers and scammers at bay.