Internet Security Myths That Delude Users

Internet Security

Internet Security Myths vs Facts

Many surveys have highlighted the fact that end users are not security-conscious and do not think about the implications of their online activities, making them vulnerable to attack by cyber-criminals. Below, eWEEK identified the top 11 myths about online security and paired them with up-to-date facts pulled from the “How do users assess threats on the Internet?” report.

Myth 1:  If my PC is infected, I will notice one way or another.

Fact:   Most modern malware will not display pop-up ads, slow down the machine orcrash the computer.

Myth 2:  Free antivirus software offers the same elements of security as those of paid-for packages.

Fact:   Free security software offers only basic antivirus and doesn’t have anti-spam or behavioral analysis.

Myth 3:  Most malware is spread through email (attachments).

Fact:   The biggest risks are malicious Websites, so don’t click on Web links in emails.

Myth 4:  You can’t get infected just by loading an infected Website.

Fact:   Drive-by downloads trigger and install themselves on a machine just by visiting the site.

Myth 5:  Most malware is spread through downloads at peer-to-peer and torrent sites.

Fact:   Most malware comes from rogue “normal looking” Websites or compromised legitimate sites.

Myth 6:  One is more likely to encounter malware at an adult content site than at a horseback riding site.

Fact:   It is easier to hack hobby and leisure sites than to penetrate professionally maintained adult sites.

Myth 7:  My firewall can protect my PC from drive-by download attacks.

Fact:   Have a firewall, but rely on other security software to block incoming and outgoing Web threats.

Myth 8:  I don’t visit risky sites, so I am safe from drive-by downloads.

Fact:   Malicious ads on legitimate sites spread malware, and hackers are compromising sites left and right.

Myth 9:  If you don’t open an infected file, you can’t get infected.

Fact:   You don’t have to open a file.  Attackers can do it for you or trick the operating system to do it instead.

Myth 10:  Free malware is spread through USB sticks.

Fact:   Most malware is spread through Websites.

Myth 11:  Cyber-criminals aren’t interested in computers belonging to consumers.

Fact:   Consumer machines contain plenty of valuable personal data and are easier to compromise.

Connie Pilato

Connie Pilato

Connie Pilato is the Academic Technology Support Specialist for Jamestown Community College, and has more than 20 years providing technology support in various roles at the college. While her primary assignment is to support the faculty of the Cattaraugus County Campus, she is available to assist both full-time and adjunct faculty regardless of their campus location.

Among her significant previous positions, Connie served as Network Design Engineer/Central Office Equipment, and Network Design Engineer/Special Circuits at ALLTEL, a telecommunications company.

Connie holds a M.S. in Curriculum Design and Instructional Technology from University of Albany – SUNY, and a B.S. in Business (Magna Cum Laude) from SUNY Fredonia.

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