Wow! I know that hacking is common and malicious software on the Internet abounds but even I was shocked to read that over 57,000 new pages are created every single week by hackers who want to infect the web with malicious viruses and trojans. Yes, 57 THOUSAND! Not only that, over 65% of these "fake" sites are designed to fool web users in thinking that they are online banking sites and 27% are to fool users into thinking they belong to eBay and other auction sites. The rest of these fake pages posed as government, financial, hosting, gaming and paypal site pages.
These fake sites have keywords or brand names that are hijacked and placed in these fake sites so that if you as a user type in that particular keyword or brand name, the results will include a link to the malicious web page. As soon as you click a link to go to that page, voila, the virus or trojan gets downloaded to your computer. Or the web page may appear genuine and ask for user details which may end up compromising your privacy.
Of course good anti-malware software is mandatory and should be purchased to protect your computer from getting infected but above and beyond that it's important to follow some simple common sense steps. One, type in the web address of the site you know you want to go to rather than try to search for it and then click on a link that may be malicious. This should be perfectly doable since you'd know the url for your bank or for ebay or paypal easily enough. For those urls that are not known to you, instead of just clicking on any link in the search results, review the url a bit more closely to find the right one.
And finally, don't give out personal details if you are not sure of the security of the site in question. Simple precautions like researching the site you plan to buy from before buying from it will save you money and time in the long run.
Malicious software, website hacking, and web crime is growing leaps and bounds. Protect your computer and your privacy the same way you'd protect your wallet and yourself in the physical world – using simple street smart or rather web smart.