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Anti-virus protection

Anti-virus software is used to prevent, detect and remove known viruses.
When you use anti-virus software, make sure that you carry out regular software updates to keep it as up to date as possible. If your anti-virus software has a virus scanner option, we recommend that you do regular scans of your computer. If a virus is ever found, you should follow the instructions provided by your anti-virus software.

Updates and patches

Software patches work to close a hole or weakness in your computer's software. Keep your operating system (e.g. Windows 7 or Apple OSX) and your web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer or Firefox) up to date by regularly checking the manufacturers' websites.

Personal firewall

Personal firewall software works in the background to manage traffic to and from your computer according to its security policy.

In addition to using anti-virus software, you should also use a personal firewall. This will help to protect you from online threats by acting as a barrier between the public internet and your personal computer, provided that you carry out regular updates.

Downloads

There are many internet frauds that rely on people downloading software to their computer often without their knowledge or consent. Don’t download any software onto your computer unless it’s from a trusted source or site.

Be vigilant when downloading other software off the internet such as MP3s as malicious software is often 'hidden' amongst legitimate software.

Email attachments

Be vigilant when receiving attachments by email, even if they appear to be sent from your bank.

Emails are a common way to spread viruses. If you’re at all suspicious, don’t open the email and delete it immediately.

Email security

To help protect your personal email accounts, try to use a strong password that contains at least eight characters with a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and keyboard symbols (for example $ecurePassword1).

If you believe an account has been compromised, sign in and change your password immediately. If you can’t access your account because a password has been changed, contact your email service provider immediately.

Spyware

Spyware is a program that can secretly gather information about you as you use your computer. It’s commonly downloaded without the knowledge or consent of the user. It can slow down your computer, change your homepage, create lots of adverts or links to websites and even include keystroke loggers to record details such as passwords and user names. If your security software detects a threat on your computer, we recommend that you follow the instructions provided by your software.

Trojan programs

Trojan programs are hidden programs, again commonly downloaded without the knowledge or consent of the user, that can give control of your computer to a hacker or collect information about you as you use your computer. A Trojan is a type of computer worm or virus that’s installed on your computer without your knowledge or consent.

Typically, the fraudster will send you an email that tries to trick you into following a website link and downloading a piece of software or opening an attachment. If you take this action, the Trojan can be installed.

Trojans can record passwords and other personal details by capturing keystrokes or taking screen shots of sites you visit. These details can then be sent to the fraudster.