At the end of 2011 (just recently) the total number of unique malware (viruses, spyware, etc) reached 75 million. That’s 75 million different threats people created to cause havoc, steal passwords and steal money from you. The internet can be a dangerous place.
The figure comes from a report by McAfee. They also report that malware for Macs are becoming less common, and malware for Android are becoming more common. You can read more details here, it’s pretty grim.
Some tips to avoid being a victim:
- Use a good antivirus product on your computer. Paid ones are usually better. Keep it updated
- Use Google Chrome
- Don’t click on every link you see in Facebook, Twitter, etc.
- Sometimes people’s accounts get hacked, so something they wrote online might not really be from them
- Don’t believe every sensational headline you see
- Don’t believe every alarming email you receive, especially emails that sound urgent and have poor spelling and grammar
- Use common sense (why would a stranger in an African country want to give you millions of dollars, or did you really enter the Spanish lottery?)
- Use Google to check if something you read is true