It’s August 5, 2016 and you settle down at your computer to watch the Olympic opening ceremony. You have no fear of catching Zika, unlike the thousands of people in Rio. Feeling safe, you navigate to the official broadcast site of the games and click on Watch the Olympics live.
But wait, there’s fine print: Simply Sign-In Using Your TV Provider Account Login/Password And You’ll Have Access To FREE, LIVE Rio Olympics Coverage. Not cool. “Who pays for TV?” you ask yourself. “Haven’t they heard of streaming?” So you search on “Olympics live streaming free” and there, on the first page of results is:
The site doesn’t look official, but hey, the media player icon looks like YouTube, which you know is safe, so you click Play. The site asks you to download and install a video codec. The ceremony starts in five minutes and the screen screams “Stream in HD now!” You’re one step away from the Free Live Stream, so you click Accept”¦within microseconds, your computer is infected with a virus. Perhaps the video will start, perhaps it won’t, but in either case, the malware now on your computer will give you greater problems than missing the opening ceremonies.
How can you protect yourself from such a scenario? Here are some precautions you can take:
- Don’t go there. If a website is not an official site, chances are that it does not have the right to stream protected content. And if it does not have rights to stream, then the content is just bait for unsuspecting visitors like you.
- Don’t click that. So you ended up on the site anyhow. If it asks you to click a link or icon, tempts you with ads for free stuff, wants to do a download, or wants to install something, the only thing you should click is Close, as in close the browser.
- Update, update, update. Whether you are using a PC or a mobile device, update your operating system with the latest hotfixes. Update your browser to the latest level. Update your anti-virus software with the latest signatures. Configure your applications to do all these things automatically.
- Control and protect your network with a next-generation firewall. A next-generation firewall includes up-to-date security services that blocks websites of ill-repute, prevents malicious downloads, and kills the latest viruses. It even denies intrusions and attack attempts, snuffs out botnet traffic patterns, and recognizes which countries have the riskiest and most suspect Internet activities. You can’t get this level of security simply by following the first three precautions.
To learn more about the bad things that can infect you on the Internet and the ways that you can inoculate yourself, read our ebook – How ransomware can hold your business hostage.