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Virus Avoidance: Think Before You Click

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Probably the best defense against computer viruses is to follow this simple rule: think before you click. With an estimated 2 billion Internet users worldwide, the risk of getting a virus while surfing the Web is even greater than ever.

Seemingly benign acts such as opening a forwarded email, viewing a video from an unreliable source, responding to a friend request on Facebook, or even using a free email service can put your computer in danger. Without realizing it, you could visit a website that contains malicious code designed to steal your information.

But employees can help minimize risks by watching any one of the videos offered by UNH IT Security, designed to educate users and help protect against viruses, personal data theft, and other threats to computers and smartphones.

One solution is to avoid clicking directly on the results of a search if you don’t know whether the link is healthy or malicious. Instead, look for websites you trust, and type in the address for that website rather than clicking on the search results.

Here is an example:

  1. Search for “Microsoft security updates” but don’t click on the links that appear.
  2. Type the URL www.microsoft.com/ to go directly to Microsoft and repeat the search there  or navigate directly to the topic you want information on.
  3. Be aware of look-alike links. For example, while www.updates.microsoft.com/ is a legitimate link, www.microsoft.updates.com/ might not be as it points to an updates.com site rather than a Microsoft.com site.
  4. Be aware of links that redirect or translate to a different location than their name indicates. For example, if you hover your mouse over a link and see “/redir=” or see that it points to a different URL than its name suggests, do not click on it.

To view any of the videos offered by UNH IT Security, you need to set up an account. To do so, you need to contact them to be issued a password. The username is your email address. To create an account visit https://itsupport.unh.edu/itsec/. Group requests also can be made.