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Can viruses create an online clone of me?

Many people are rightfully concerned about the possibility of viruses or other malicious software gaining entry to their computer to obtain and replicate important personal data.

The ways in which computers are now used mean they hold, communicate and transmit huge quantities of personal data concerning everything from bank account details to addresses and personal preferences almost constantly. This means that many users face the risk of identity theft on a scale never seen before. However, this doesn’t have to be the case, as antivirus researchers and security companies, such as Trend Micro, are providing constant updates and information concerning potential threats.

What is cloning?

In the world of computers, cloning is already a familiar concept. Often used to create a duplicate of the contents on your hard-drive, computer cloning can also be used to spread viruses and other online threats. A cloning virus creates duplicates for files you have on your computer with the hope you will open these corrupted files rather than the programme you are looking for.

Online clones

With the rise of the Internet, the threat of online clones has grown. Viruses can give unauthorised users access to your files and stored information – details which can then be used to set up fake accounts or online identities.

These viruses can also create clones of retail websites or services. Unsuspecting Internet users can then be fooled into using these services, sending their money to cyber-criminals rather than to the services they think they are using.

The creation of online clones, which can be directed by the viruses or by an external controller, is a popular way to gather personal information about users, introduce adware to computers and limit their functions.

Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do to improve your online security and tackle viruses – most important of which is using common sense and being diligent. Making sure you only download software from trusted sources, not opening emails from unknown sources and refusing to view attachments that look questionable, will give you a far greater chance of remaining secure and free from harm.

Enhancing your online protection

Of course, you won’t always be able to prevent viruses and other malware entering your computer or remote devices purely through the use of common sense – but it will help if used in combination with good online security software.

Make sure that you have a reputable antivirus and antispyware software installed on your computer and that it is regularly updated; otherwise it will fail to recognise many of the more recently developed viruses. Secondly, ensure that you have an active Firewall which is properly set up. Firewall software makes you less visible on the Internet by blocking incoming communication from unauthorised sources, making you less of a target for hackers.

Many companies and websites even have specific pages dedicated to keeping users up-to-date with the most recent information concerning viruses and malware, and a good understanding of the potential threats to your computer will ensure that you are well prepared.

It is important to remember that protection is needed for all devices capable of connecting to the Internet, and not just for desktop computers and laptops. Computer tablets and smartphones also need protection and this is something which comprehensive security packages such as Trend Micro Maximum Security can provide.

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