Viruses, spyware and Trojans are often grouped under the term "malware," short for malicious software. Malware installs itself on a computer when a person downloads an untrusted file. Once installed, malware can collect personal information and send it to another computer where the personal data can be used to commit fraud. Here are some ways to protect yourself:
- Only download files and attachments you trust.
- Just because a good friend sent you a joke, screensaver or other file type, doesn't mean it's safe. Many people unknowingly download Trojans or viruses and end up sending them to all their email contacts.
- Many online ads ask for personal or financial information. Never enter this information on a site unless you trust the company behind it.
- Make sure your antivirus and other security software is set to update at least weekly. Run periodic system software updates as well.