Earlier this evening, I received an email from my sister. It was a forwarded email, with her words of “warning and caution” at the beginning. She went so far as to say something along the line of how everyone better be extra vigilant. She stated that people need to “be fearful” these days when it comes to malware.
The email detailed a supposedly horrible “new” piece of malware, which had been classified by Microsoft as the “worst ever”. I knew, before checking into it, that this was absolutely false. However, being the person that I am, I did my research. I did a “reply all” on the email and explained to everyone what my credentials are. I then gave them several REAL links that describe this virus in detail. The email discussed the “postcard virus”, which is actually quite old – and not as harmful as the email would have you believe.
I talked in my response about how one shouldn’t ever be paranoid, nor fearful. All one needs to do is use your brain. Arm yourself with knowledge via research. If someone tells you about a horrible virus that you cannot escape, go find out for yourself. It’s quite easy to look things up on legitimate sites nowadays, and to learn exactly what something is… or isn’t. Check on anti-virus vendor sites, or even at places like our GeeksToGo Forums. Google your heart out, and read what experts on the subject have to say about it. Don’t blindly rely on an email that has been forwarded 12039210 times already!
Yes, you should be cautious. Yes, you should use protection software. But you honestly have no need to become afraid of going online. If you properly protect your computer, back up your data, and use your brain – you should be fine. In this case, using your brain isn’t only about researching things… it also covers just being smart about sites you visit, attachments you open, and things you download. You know the drill. Even a novice computer user can easily learn what things to do and what things to NOT do when it comes to keeping yourself protected.
You just need to use your brain.