Digital security — simple steps to protect yourself online and fight fraud, scams, and ID theft


7 warning signs that you’re under attack

Being secure in any aspect of your life helps you to be more confident, and the same is true in the world of technology. The more you’re aware of what could go wrong, the more prepared you can be to prevent it.

This is particularly true in the world of online digital security, where malware (malicious software) poses a considerable threat to computer users. Not sure you’ll know if you’re under attack? Here are some danger signs to watch out for.

The operating system fails to start. This is a serious problem since, obviously, you will not be able to gain access to your device. In cases such as this, look for a software security expert in your area.

  • Slow performance in terms of opening apps and accessing items.
  • Error messages keep appearing for no apparent reason.
  • Files and folders disappear without explanation.
  • Random emails are generated and sent to all of the contacts in your address book.
  • Your device crashes or freezes with monotonous regularity.
  • Apps launch themselves with no input from you.


The dangers of the digital and online world can appear frightening and daunting at times. However, understanding these dangers and taking steps to protect yourself is the best way to gain the confidence to carry on safely with the rest of your computing activities.


A Closer Look

Computer viruses have been around for almost as long as computers themselves. They operate by infecting computing devices and performing various malicious acts.

Viruses install themselves on the victim’s computer without their knowledge. When they are opened, either automatically by the virus itself, or by an act such as clicking on an affected attachment in an email, the virus then conducts its malicious mission.

Any erratic or unexplained behavior that suddenly starts happening regularly could mean your device has a virus. If this happens you should investigate immediately.


Vaccinate your computer against damaging viruses

As with many threats in the real or online world, being aware of the problem is the first step to preventing it. The good news is that there are companies dedicated to providing excellent anti-virus protection.

Unfortunately, the hackers and fraudsters are very determined and increasingly sophisticated, and you can never be 100% secure all of the time. But if you remain constantly vigilant, you will give yourself the best chance of a safe and secure computing environment. Here are some steps to take to protect your information and your investment.


Use anti-virus software to identify any malicious attacks. This is your first and most important step. There are both free and paid versions available, and you should always use one on your device if you plan to connect to the internet.


Never open an attachment if you receive an email from someone you don’t know. This includes clicking or tapping on any links in the email. It’s one of the most common ways that hackers deploy viruses. If you get an email like this, do not access anything in it, and instead delete it immediately.


Look for a Wi-Fi router with a built-in firewall. The aim is to use the router to stop viruses before they get the chance to access your computing devices. Check the specifications of the router before you buy it to see if it has a built-in firewall.

Use a software firewall on your computer for detecting malicious items trying to access your device via the internet. For Windows and macOS devices, these can be deployed in the Settings section, and separate firewalls can also be used with anti-virus apps.


Keep on top of information about new viruses. Anti-virus software sites, such as McAfee at and Norton at, usually have news about the latest viruses as well as products to protect against them. Details about particularly widespread viruses also sometimes appear in the national news.


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    • FC&A Staff Writer