Tips to Avoid Malware
Certain websites and programs should be avoided on both your home and work computers. Given the prevalence of malware, cryptographic hijackers, advertising and marketing software and other malicious programs, this list can serve as a general guide as to what types of websites and programs can pose a risk to your computer and information. Please be aware that even legitimate, well-maintained business and institutional websites can occasionally promote harmful software, so no list can guarantee that you will never encounter a virus or other malware while Internet browsing. Awareness and making a habit of following best practices is your best defense.
There are additional protections you can use, such as browsing the web only when using a non-administrative computer account. For more information on protecting yourself while online, go to it.unh.edu/bestpractices or contact your departmental IT Support or UNH Information Security Services.
- Pornographic sites
- “Free Service” third-party sites
- Music/Video/Software piracy sites offering “free” or “cracked” downloads, “Warez” etc.
- Peer-to-Peer (P2P) sites
- Obscure search sites. Use mainstream search engines such as Google, Yahoo or Bing.
- Websites that require a download to access or use, or which try to force a software installation
- Web-based Flash or Java games
- Pay-To-Click services
- Coupon or “Deal” sites
- Third-party fee-based sites offering services that are often obtainable without cost from the original source. These include but are not limited to credit report sites, government information, and public databases, texts of state and federal laws, travel information, maps and directions.
- Social Media Quizzes (…for example, popular Facebook quizzes like "Which Type of nnnn Are You?". These are typically data mining scams.)
- Free People Search Sites
- More site-specific information can be found here: http://websitestoavoid.blogspot.com/
Free software downloads should be avoided as much as possible, as many applications are embedded with undesirable or malicious software of some kind. The quality of the software varies widely and may cause computer problems in addition to the effect of the embedded malware. Software downloads to avoid include the following:
- Icons or Icon kits
- Screen savers
- Mouse pointers
- Wallpapers (static or automatically rotating)
- “Exclusive” offerings
- Downloaders for music, movies & hacked programs
- Fake antivirus and security programs
- Registry Cleaners
- Computer Optimizers
- Internet “Speed-ups”
- Search Engine Settings “Protectors”
- Coupon generators
- Product Key Generators
- Electronic Greeting Cards
- Animated desktop characters or animals (“eSheep”)
- Spying tools
- Malware generators and toolkits