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Internet Scams, Viruses Becoming More Common

A report by Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority reveals that human beings are the weakest link in the technology chain. With a dose of common sense and a little prevention, most malicious attacks can be prevented.

The easiest cons to avoid are garden-variety emails which try to get people to reveal information about bank accounts and credit cards. Many are easily spotted as con jobs, such as those promising a king's ransom in exchange for account access.

But recently these have become more sophisticated, such as pleas from fake charities or last year's Nordea bank email hoax. That message used the bank's letterhead to request password information. Tens of thousands of euros were stolen.

A more complicated problem is computer viruses and predatory programs, which can wipe out data or secretly install themselves on computers to spy on the user.

The Regulatory Authority says that at any given moment hundreds, if not thousands, of Finnish computers are polluted by malicious programming. These types of Internet attacks are becoming much more common.

The Authority stresses that every computer connected to the Internet simply must have an anti-virus program and a firewall. Many such programs are available for free on the Internet - but none of the precautions will last very long if they are not updated regularly.

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