As you’re likely aware, there is malware out there which masquerades as legitimate software in order to trick users into downloading and installing rogue programs. Here are some tips to help you steer clear of these malicious applications (which can quite often be, ironically, fake security programs).
Install from authorised sources
This is the most important point to bear in mind – the cyber-crooks behind these scams rely on users downloading software from unauthorised sources to push their fake products. Always be very wary of the location you’re grabbing a file from. Of course, many users often get hit with rogue software when they download pirated versions of applications. If you fly the Jolly Roger on the net, this is one of the risks you take.
Of course, you should always exercise caution when following download links from social networking sites, or emails. Just because a friend has linked to something doesn’t mean it’s automatically going to be kosher.
Naturally, you should have a firewall and security software running to help protect yourself. If you do happen to download a dodgy software package, the security suite is your main line of defence, and will hopefully pick it up.
There are plenty of good free security programs out there, such as Avast for example. If you want a full discussion on this topic, see our guide to buying security software, which covers free and paid-for AV applications, firewalls and many other security issues.
And it’s also of the utmost importance to keep that security software up to date – set the definitions to update automatically. Also, it’s a good idea to make sure your operating system and other programs are fully patched and up to date constantly.
As we mentioned at the start of this article, make sure you get your security software from a legitimate source, too! Fake antivirus programs are common, and can be really nasty once on your system.
Cyber-criminals are crafty and are always working on ways to trick users into downloading their applications. Don't make it so easy for them.