Today, almost every student has access to a computer or smart device that allows him or her access the internet. This could be for purpose of education and/or entertainment. In turn, file sharing has gained popularity in equal manner.
Unfortunately, both these practices expose the user to all sorts of computer viruses and internet scams that can have disastrous results ranging from crashing your computer to losing a lot of hard-earned money. It is important to note that viruses can be transmitted from one computer to another through several media such as USB drives or other platforms such as the internet.
By definition, computer viruses refer to malicious software that infects a computer system and causes damage. Common types include;
Trojans: This virus disguises itself as a useful file but actually performs unauthorized functions in the background.
Worms: This type of virus replicates itself once it finds its way into your computer system, consuming considerable bandwidth and slowing down the system’s speed.
Adware: This can be described as any software package that downloads or displays advertisements automatically once the original software is installed on your computer.
Spyware: This refers to software that is installed on your computer secretly with an intention of monitoring your browsing habits and even interfere with user control.
How To Avoid Viruses
It is possible to limit the chances of a virus attack by using the following methods:
Get reliable antivirus software: You can choose from a wide range of software such as Avira, Norton, Karpsersky, AVG, and McAfee. Only use trusted USB drives: USB drives are a common source of viruses so always scan them before opening any file. To minimize risks, send files through emails to avoid infection.
Be wary of dubious file extensions: Always the check the properties of a particular file if it has unusual extensions such as ".jpeg.exe" as it could be a virus. Internet pop-ups are not always safe or genuine. It is advisable to visit a particular site for more information about the said product and not to click on the advertisement.
The education sector is a target for many internet scams all over the world. The greatest scam of all time is the one involving scholarship opportunities.
There are scams targeting international students. Some scammers pose as traveling companies who claim to offer plane tickets at discounted prices, only to disappear once you have sent the money. They may also pose as apartment leasing agencies.
For those students who wish to have permanent residency in their country of study, these scammers pose as officials from the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration. They promise citizenship for a fee which many foreign students fall for. Sometimes they impersonate embassy officials who are calling to check on foreign students, and ask for credit numbers in the process as well as personal information.
How to Avoid Scams
Most internet scams have one objective; to siphon money from you. You should therefore never disclose your credit card details to someone through email. It is easy to identify scams as they have specific signatures such as:
Down payment or fee: Any scholarship offer that requires you to pay some money upfront is most likely a scam.
Congratulatory messages: Always beware of rewards from contests you never participated in that promise cash, scholarships or gadgets for a small fee.
If possible install software such as anti-spy, and use a firewall to prevent unauthorized access to your computer. Avoid posting your email address to public mailing lists, websites and message board which could make it vulnerable to scams. You can verify the authenticity of a website using tools such as Web of Trust which can help indicate if the website you are about to visit is legitimate.