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Keeping your computer safe and secure is something we all need to be aware of when using the internet, not just for when you are playing RuneScape. Whilst the majority of the internet is safe there are a number of different threats out there which you should be aware of. Some of these threats may attempt to steal your passwords or other but, the good news is that all of these can be avoided by using some very simple security precautions and having a good security regime for your computer. To help you find out more about keeping your computer safe we have put together the following advice.

Making Your Computer Secure

"Malware" is a term used to describe any software that has been designed with malicious intent. This covers things like disrupting your computers operation, gathering sensitive information, and gaining unauthorised access to your computers operating system. Whilst this may sound worrying malware can be easily defeated by doing the following:

  • Install & use anti-malware programs, of which their are many options available.
  • Keeping the anti-malware up-to-date and making sure that it is always running.
  • Keeping your Computer up-to-date. To read more about keeping your Operating system up-to-date please read our OS Updates section.
  • Not clicking on any e-mail you don't know about. (Please refer to our Phishing section for further advice and tips on this).
  • Only installing software directly from a reputable source or, ideally, the makers own website.

Install & Use Good Anti-Spyware and Key Logger Software

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Spyware and Key-loggers are software that you install on your computer, either knowingly or unknowingly, that tracks your internet usage to then send your personal information to its controller. They will often be disguised, either in another piece of software or as a useful program, and require you to put them onto your computer. Once installed they will track and then send everything you do on your computer.

Adware is similar to Spyware, in that if you install it onto your computer it will track your searching habits and internet usage to target specific advertising based on your interests. Whilst it is not normally as dangerous as Spyware of Keyloggers it can open your computer up to malicious software, use a lot of processing power which will slow down your computer, and often shows you pop-up adverts when you don't want to see them.

To get rid of Spyware and Key Loggers you'll need anti-spyware. This is quite often included in anti-virus software but you can get some very good stand alone programs as well. Below are some options that are available to you:

  1. Spybot Search and Destroy.
  2. Microsoft Windows Defender.
  3. Ad-Aware AdAware.
  4. Malwarebytes.

(please note the disclaimer regarding these sites found at the bottom of this page)

Install & Use Good Anti-Virus Software

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A Virus is a computer program that is designed to access your computer, make a copy of itself on your machine, and then use your computer to spread itself to other machines. These programs can make your PC open to further attacks, cause frustration by stopping your machine from working correctly or damage your PC so much that you will either have to reinstall the entirety of its software from scratch or even have to purchase new hardware. The most common variant of this is a "Mass-Mailing Worm" which uses e-mails to replicate itself. Once on your computer it will try to use your e-mail address book to e-mail itself to all of your friends and family on that list. That way it can spread to people who will think it's ok because they've been e-mailed by someone they know.

To protect yourself against Viruses you will need to have an anti-virus software installed. There are many different anti-virus programs available, both free and paid, so you have a wide choice to pick from. Here are some that we recommend:

  1. Microsoft Security Essentials
  2. AVG
  3. Avast

(please note the disclaimer regarding these sites found at the bottom of this page)

Install & Use Good Firewall Software

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Some hijackers aren't after your personal information; they do however want your PC. Your PC gives them another connection to the internet and can be a gap between illegal activity and themselves. By using Viruses a hijacker can gain control of your PC making it a "Zombie", and with thousands of other Zombies they can attack bigger websites. This is called DDoSing, which is illegally using thousands of infected "Zombie" PC's to attack a single target. A "Zombie" PC can also to be used for the purposes of spam mailing or other illegal activities.

It is also possible that if someone finds your IP that they can try and take direct control of your computer. This can be done either to access any files & information you have on your computer, to take control of the computer for malicious purposes, or to cause damage to the software and hardware of your machine.

The best way to improve the the security of your machine safe is installing a Firewall, a security system designed to manage your computers network communications. This software will control what information can enter and exit your machine, reducing the chance of being infected and giving you protection if you develop a mal-ware problem. Some Firewall options available are:

  1. Zone Alarm
  2. ESET Smart Security

(please note the disclaimer regarding these sites found at the bottom of this page)

Keep Your Computer Secure

So you've got yourself a good anti-virus and spyware software installed. Round one to you but, it's worth while noting that anti-virus and spyware software programmers are constantly updating their software in response to new types of viruses etc, so it's important that you follow suit and keep in mind the below advice;

General Good Practice

  • Always keep your malware up to date and run a full scan after any updates for that software are issued.
  • Running regular scans of your computer, ideally at least once a month.
  • Only install software that has come from a reputable source.
  • Following the advice given by your anti-malware software, especially when installing new programs
  • Don't click on any e-mail you don't know about. Please refer to our Phishing section for further advice and tips on this.
  • Only enter personal information into sites which you can trust and are secure. If you're putting your details into a service you don't know, stop!
  • Torrents, Adult sites, shock sites and cheating communities are all potential ways to contract viruses, key loggers and spyware. Avoid them.
  • Don't click on OK boxes which pop-up without reading them. You might be clicking OK to a virus installing on your computer.
  • Don't use the same password for everything, and only use them on the sites you originally supplied it to. If another site is asking for your password, don't give it!
  • Keep Windows up to date. New security updates are usually applied automatically.

Avoid Spam

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Is Spam just a pain? If you delete it then yes, however if you open it then you could be in trouble.

The purpose of Spam is often to get Viruses, Spyware, Key Loggers, and Worms installed on your computer. Most e-mail filters will put spam straight into your spam folder but not always. It can also mistakenly put safe e-mails into your spam folder so you can't always trust it to keep you safe.

To avoid the problems caused by hostile spam messages

  • Only open e-mails that you were expecting and that come from a source that you trust. This includes emails to multiple recipients that have fantastic offers included.
  • Always check the email address that was used to send the email to you, just because an email claims to be from Jagex doesn't mean that it will have been sent by us.
  • If an email asks you to click on a link then check that the link goes to the site you expect it to go to before you click on it. For example this link says RuneScape.Com but won't take you there.

Remember that if your computer is secure then a spam email can only harm you if you click on links in the actual message.

Browser hijacking

Browser hijacking are those annoying pop-ups you can get or scripts that change your homepage. But why do they bother doing it?

Every pop-up you see or dodgy homepage you are given increases the chance that you'll interact with the content on those pages. That content will give you Viruses, Spyware, Key Loggers and Worms. All the hijackers are doing is increasing the chance you'll fall for their scams by making you see them more often.

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