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.