Malware: What You Didn’t Order Online but Got Anyway

People are doing everything online these days –especially shopping.  And not just a little here-and-there or holiday shopping either. Many people even do their grocery shopping online, myself included. While it simplifies our lives and is a huge time saver, it’s also putting us at greater risk for getting malware on our computers.

What’s malware you say? Its “malicious software” which includes viruses and worms, spyware, and all other yucky stuff you don’t want on your PC, all created to gain access to your computer without your knowledge.

While shopping, there are a few ways for malware to get to your PC that you already know about – such as entering your personal and financial information on an unsecured page. But there are a couple other sneaky ways you may not be aware of. Two weird ways? Internet searches and comparison shopping sites. Malware can get into your computer from links from infected web searches, and any questionable links brought up in the side-by-side results from comparison shopping sites.

You don’t need to stop shopping online. You do need to be aware that because malware can come from so many different sources, you’ll need to take a multi-layered approach to protect your PC. Here’s how to do it:

  1. The number one rule is don’t click on ANY link that looks suspicious. If it looks weird to you, it probably is, and you don’t want to risk getting malware from a suspect link.
  2. Having a firewall and an anti-virus program is good, but it isn’t enough. First you’ll need to keep your anti-virus program up-to-date and active all times. You’ll also need a dedicated anti-malware program to give you an extra layer of security against threats. Many times a PC is infected with malware and the owner doesn’t even realize it –yet.  ChicaPC-Shield™ is software that alerts you to malware on your PC, and you can run a free scan quickly and easily.
  3. Knowledge is power. As the internet continues to evolve, so will cybercrime. Keep yourself up-to-date on what’s going on out in cyberspace. For more tips on how to shop online safely, read The Ten Commandments of Online Shopping and How to Protect Your Identity Online.

–Angela Skinner Mullen

 

 

Angela Skinner Mullen
Angela leads a caffeine-fueled life chasing her kids around town. She holds degrees in Communications and Marketing, and worked in marketing management in both publishing and technology fields before going freelance. While some think she is obsessive-compulsive about correct usage and grammar, she prefers to think of herself as paying great attention to detail. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two kids, two cats, a frog, and a very large dog. Most likely to be found working from a Coffee Bean in Los Angeles, laptop on and latte in hand.

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