The pervasiveness of malicious software or malware as it is often referred to is a regrettable but very real problem existing on the internet. You have to take the security of your computer and protecting your files and programs seriously whenever you access the internet. Identity thieves target computer users in the places they frequent the most like shopping and auction marketplaces, work from home opportunities forums, social networks, and other popular internet destinations.

Cyber criminals are skilled at creating websites, software, web pages, emails, etc, that many times look legitimate at first glance but are in fact designed to install malware on unsuspecting users computers. Once inside your computer this malicious software they can steal information your files and even allow others to control your computer from remote locations. Setting up websites that provide driver updates that users can download to their computers is one favorite tactic used by identity thieves.

You can protect your identity when online and protect your computer from the intrusion of malware with these simple tips.

• Microsoft and other top companies offer consumers free malicious software detection and removal tools. Having these installed on your computer can prevent malware hidden in some websites you visit from installing on your computer.
• Do not agree to download new versions of flash players or other file extensions a website alleges you must in order to view features of the website. This is a red flag because your updated drivers and programs should be able to display these features without the need for added extension files. If you think, you might really need an extension a website suggests, find it from a reputable supplier for downloading and return to the website you wanted to view later.
• Do not click on links sent to you in unsolicited emails and not even from known senders, as links contained in the body of emails are highly susceptible to abuse by identity thieves.
• Clear your browser history after each search to prevent hackers from finding your computer via your searches.
• Check websites thoroughly before downloading anything from them or entering personal information on website forms.
• Check the URL in your browsers window to make sure it is a valid company url or a fake. One giveaway that a website may be illegitimate is a misspelling of the company in the url or on the webpage itself.
• Avoid websites that do not offer support and contact information to visitors.