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ITRC Solution 13

  • Install all recommended software and/or hardware to protect your information. To be protected against cybercriminals, you need current anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-malware, and firewall programs.
  • Install reputable anti-spam software. Most reputable anti-spam software programs today are also programmed to identify known viruses, which could contain Trojan horses as well.
  • Keep all your security software and operating systems updated.
  • Verify BOTH the source AND content of each file you download. Don’t download an executable program just to “check it out.” If it is a Trojan, the first time you run it, you are already infected.
  • Use caution when dealing with pop-ups. This is a perfect place to plant a virus or Trojan programs.
  • Beware of hidden file extensions. Windows by default hide the last extension of a file so that innocuous-looking picture “susie.jpg” might really be “susie.jpg.exe” – an executable Trojan. To avoid being tricked, unhide those extensions in Tools/Folder Options/View in Windows Explorer.
  • If you are an online gamer, do not publish your I.P. address on websites or newsgroups, unless you are very sure that you are fully protected. You would be much better off logging into others’ game servers than inviting others to log onto your game server at a precise I.P. address.
  • Backup your system frequently.
  • Turn off your computer when not in use. If you are not connected to the Internet, you cannot be infected, hacked or hijacked.
  • Reconsider storing personal information in your computer. Transfer it to a CD or thumb drive and use only when you need the information. This is especially true of passwords, SSNs, tax and financial records.

Related links

ITRC Fact Sheet FS 119 – Direct Connections to the Internet

ITRC Fact Sheet FS 118 – PC Perfect: A computer IQ test

 

This solution sheet should not be used in lieu of legal advice. Any requests to reproduce this material, other than by individual victims for their own use, should be directed to itrc@idtheftcenter.org.