Don't Get Bamboozled By Bogus Links!
3 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Questionable Links
Unsolicited emails from unknown senders are sometimes the onset of cyberattacks. They may entice you to click on a link or open an attachment that may contain malware. Clicking on the links can also direct you to some compromising websites, so be cautious. If a link looks suspicious, look it up on the web and do a quick research. The rule of thumb is to ignore seemingly malicious emails. But if you're really curious, or just not sure it's evil, there are several ways to protect yourself and your environment from unknown and questionable web links. Read on for a few tips you can use to protect yourself while investigating that link or attachment.
The main key is isolation. Below outlines a small list of isolations that you can utilize.
Use a completely different platform. If possible, utilize a “Burner” computer. A burner computer could be an old laptop that you don’t care about if it gets compromised. There is zero personal information, no passwords stored, or any other sensitive information.
Also, protect your network by connecting the burner computer to a different network, such as an Internet Café, free WI-FI, or even your guest WI-FI if it's enabled.
iOS and Android
Use a more secure, but less robust operating system. These operating systems are considered secure because, most of the time, if an operation/application requires interaction with system resources or the operating system, it will ask the user to “Allow / Deny” it. Examples would be:
- iOS (iPhone, iPad)
- Android (Phones, Chrome books, Tablets)
Use Virtual Isolation. If any of the above is not available or practical, then virtual isolation is your next best bet. Virtual Isolation means exactly that. Create a virtual machine within your computer (be it iOS or Windows) by utilizing specialized software. Below lists some of the more popular options. They all have pretty much the same features. The only difference these days are support, ease of use, and price.
- Hyper-V: A built-in Virtualization software that is available in Professional or Enterprise Edition of Windows 10. It is not available for the Home Edition.
- VirtualBox: A third party software.
If you rely on the Internet for anything or you rely on your computer for anything, it is a must that you fully understand what threats are out there and how you can better protect yourself. Taking a few precautions will help keep your computer safe from hijackers and becoming a zombie machine.