Consumer Watch: How to keep your computer safe when searching the web

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by Andy Treinen

WHAS11.com

Posted on July 23, 2012 at 4:46 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 23 at 5:01 PM

(WHAS11) -- By now, most of us avoid clicking on links in shady-looking emails, potential phishing attempts to gather personal information or install malware. But now there's another trick growing in popularity, and it’s one that web users may not think about.
 
Whether searching for news on a hot topic like celebrity gossip, a new gadget, a major world event, or even something as mundane as a recipe, be careful where you click. That search result could be a tainted link.

“People are always aware that they should be careful with their email and what they click on. That same level of awareness needs to be there when you're on a search engine, or for that matter, on facebook or something,” said Chris Larsen of Blue Coat Systems Malware chief.
 
Many companies and entities spend time and money pinpointing how to get their site to the top of a list of search results. That's called search engine optimizing. Search engine poisoning uses the same strategy for scamming.
 
To keep your computer safe keep these tips in mind:

-Keep your searches to trusted sites. When looking for news on a favorite celebrity, for example, stick to the established entertainment sites.
-Avoid web address endings that don't look familiar, they could spell trouble.
-Always keep anti-virus and malware software up to date.
 
If you have a story you’d like WHAS11 to look into send an e-mail to consumerwatch@whas11.com.
 

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