Got a song stuck in your head? Buy it online. Can't wait to watch the latest action movie? Find it online. Is it free? Even better – or so it may seem. While one of the greatest benefits of Internet access is the vast amount of digital media available, it's no surprise that cyber criminals love it just as much. A thirst for entertainment can often lead to illegal downloads from sites that aren't secure. And that can take all the fun out of catching the most recent episode of your favourite show. Before you give up your love of all things digital media, here are a few tips to keep you protected:
- First and foremost, use common sense. If you don't recognize the name of the company offering a link to a download, don't click on it.
- Remember that the most current celebrity, song or movie will likely have the most threats attached to it.
- Free content usually comes at a price, so stick to paid, legitimate sites for your music and movie downloads.
- Ensure your computer has up-to-date antivirus, spyware removal tools and an enabled firewall. Treat any file you download with caution, if the source isn't known or trusted.
- A good, safe search plug-in will warn you of potential risks in your search results.
- These services – provided by some antivirus programs for example – help to prevent the user from visiting sites which contain malware.
- Remember that you may expose yourself to legal issues such as copyright infringement if you download movies, TV shows, music or software that are copyright protected.