Cybercriminals hunting your money are well armed. Their weapons include the element of surprise, malicious programs, and user inattentiveness. Meanwhile, your best defense is proper cyberhygiene. Let’s start with what not to do.
Do not install apps from just anywhere. File sharing and torrents are particularly dangerous – they often deliver programs with malicious modules. Want to download a game or some software? Go to the official store (for example, Google Play or the
App Store) or the developers’ official website (if it’s a PC program).
Never install so-called “alternative versions” of popular apps from third-party developers. Even if the promised features look inspiring, the risk of picking up a Trojan is too great.
Never use pirated software. Pirates often earn extra money through spreading malware.
Do not follow links in emails or posts on social networks if they raise even the slightest suspicion. They can point to a page that will download malicious software to your device.
Do not open attachments in emails if you were not expecting them. If possible, call the sender and check if they really sent the file.
Some file types are more commonly used for attacks than others. These are mainly executable files (for example, with the extensions COM, EXE, BAT, CMD, MSI, APP, DMG, and APK). Archives (that is, files with the extensions RAR, ZIP and the like) are
also insecure – they can be used to hide malware from mail security tools. Do not download files of these types unless absolutely necessary.
Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files containing embedded infected macros are also popular with cybervillains. If a document promts you to enable macros, do not. And you'd better leave alone PDF attachments to messages from people you do not know – they
too can contain malicious code.
Stay sharp, even if the message came from a friend. Cybercriminals might have faked their address or hacked their account. If curiosity gets the better of you, it is best to first contact the sender. Call or write, but not using the same messenger
or mail account – otherwise it’s likely the reply will come from the scammers!
Now you know what not to do. But what should you do? We reveal all in the next lesson!
Which of the listed actions are cybersafe?