Your Antivirus Not Protect You Always – Read This

I hear this comment in one form or another at least once a week and it never ceases to amaze me just how much ill-placed faith people place in anti-virus software. As I said to a customer just yesterday:

Virus and Malware protection starts with the computer user.

Sure anti-malware software will do a good job of protecting your computers but there is not a product on the market that is 100% effective, in fact the only way to guarantee your computer won’t fall victim to a malware attack is to permanently disconnect it from the internet and never use any form of removable media, of course this is entirely impractical for most people.

The Australian government website is an excellent resource to learn about new and emerging threats and recently published the following article which I think should be mandatory reading for all internet users.

Read the original article here.

Recognise scam or hoax emails and websites

Scam and hoax websites and emails are designed to:

  • trick you into disclosing personal information such as bank account details, passwords or credit card numbers
  • con you into paying money for fake get-rich-quick offers, prizes or lottery wins, or fraudulent or poor quality goods.

Be suspicious of emails from people or businesses you don’t know, particularly if they promise you money, good health or a solution to all your problems.

Be suspicious of unexpected emails from your bank or financial institution. Remember banks don’t do business via email and never ask for confidential information via email. Scammers put a lot of time and money into making hoax emails and bogus websites look real. Don’t be fooled.

Looks too good to be true? It probably is!


There is a huge range of scams on the internet, from promises of non-existent free products in return for clicking through to a website (which make advertising profits), to sophisticated targeted scams which can run for years and cost victims hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Common scams are described below, and more information can be found on SCAMwatch.

419 or ‘Nigerian letter’ advance feeThese messages are sent to thousands of people on the probability that some will believe the story and forward the advance fee.Email (or letter) claiming to be from a solicitor, barrister, public official or some other authoritative person.
  • The writer is in another (usually underdeveloped) country.
  • They own of a huge sum of money, but need the help of a foreign partner (you) in order to access it.
  • Help them access the money and you will receive a share of it.
  • You ‘wire’ them a small advance fee for some contrived reason (for example clearance fees, tax).
Dating and romanceThey attempt to enter into an online relationship with the victim in order to persuade them to forward money or divulge personal details.
  • Fake profiles on dating sites or responding to profiles with fake personas
  • A friend request or message in social media or a communications service such as Skype.
  • Their profile pictures look professional and might have been cut and pasted from a website or magazine.
  • They attempt to become intimate quickly.
  • They may say they live close by, but are unable to arrange a meeting or suddenly have to travel overseas.
  • There are signs the correspondence might be cut and pasted or taken from template, for example wrong names, inconsistent or disjointed grammar.
  • Requests for money accompanied by elaborate scenarios and effusive language.

Generally, any offer that promises a large reward for a small fee is almost certainly a scam.

Steps to avoid online scams and hoaxes

Delete suspicious emails and leave websites that:

  • ask you to provide your banking details or personal information
  • promise you money
  • present hard luck or exotic stories telling you that you can share in hidden millions of dollars
  • offer jobs where you need no qualifications, but just ask for a bank account for money transfers.


  • Never provide personal details via emails or links from emails. If you are unsure, double check by telephone with the company or institution.
  • Never follow the links in spam emails; these could lead to downloading unwanted viruses, spyware or malware.
  • Ensure that you have up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software installed on your computer.
  • Install a firewall on your computer and make sure it is activated

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