Scareware, aka fake antivirus, as you may know, is a form of malware usually obtained from a malicious Internet website, that displays ominous warning messages on your PC that states you have been infected with malware. It usually runs a fake malware scan and warns that it has found a very dangerous malware that it will remove for a price. In many cases, the computer is locked up during this process and Continue reading
A recent NakedSecurity.Sophos.com article reports that a vicious “malware attack has been spammed out widely via email to Internet users, posing as a message about photos.”
The attack’s payload is the Blackhole exploit kit, a vicious and self-protecting malware controller which injects the following malware onto computers:
Blackhole is not a scientific phenomena in this case—it’s the latest high-tech Internet-based malware computer exploit kit (malware for sale/rent). In fact, it rents for so low a price that I expect this malware exploit kit will multiply at a high rate of speed in the very near future. Continue reading
Nearly two billion Internet users are vulnerable to scams and cyber assaults, in particular what a security company calls “crimeware-as-a-service” carried out by organized cyber criminals.
In a newly released report by CA Technologies, researchers noted how Trojans are today the most common category of new threats, accounting for 73 percent of total threat infections reported worldwide. But more importantly, 96 percent of discovered Trojans were components of an emerging underground trend towards organized cyber crime, or “Crimeware-as-a-Service.”
“Crimeware isn’t new, but the extent to which a services model has now been adopted is amazing,” said Don DeBolt, director of threat research, Internet Security, CA Technologies. “This new method of malware distribution makes it more challenging to identify and remediate. Fortunately, security professionals and developers are diligent about staying one step ahead of these cyber criminals.” Continue reading
Do you have security software installed on your computer? Is it up-to-date and protecting your system? Do you have just anti-virus protection or a full security suite? The SANS Institute Security Newsletter for Computer Users has made a list of the top reasons that computers don’t have security software, some good reasons why you should install it on yours, and tips on how to shop for a good-quality, all-in-one security suite that won’t bust your budget.
The Top Ten Reasons Why Computers Don’t Have Security Software
#10. “I just use my computer for email and web browsing.”
You are using your computer for the same things that most people use
them for most of the time. That’s why scam and phishing emails, rigged
websites and similar deceptions are the most rapidly growing threats.
You fit the profile of computer users that the Bad Guys are targeting.
A good-quality security software suite helps protect you against
deception and its consequences–exploitation for profit of personal and
sensitive information that a criminal may trick you into revealing.
#9. “I’ve never had any virus problems.”
Famous last words. Being healthy is no reason to skip vaccinations.
Security software functions like your immune system. It can’t prevent
every infection, but without it, your computer is wide open to infection
by many hundreds of types of malicious software.
#8. “It kept popping up all the time.”
Don’t turn off your security software or remove it from your system.
Those warnings may be legitimate or could be the work of “scareware.”
Scareware creates misleading pop-ups and animations about bogus threats that look very convincing-all tricks to get you to click “Yes” or “No” or “Cancel.” No matter which one you choose, the problem will not go away, and clicking on anything stands to make things worse. When this happens, contact your computer support provider immediately for expert assistance.
#7. “It might crash my system.”
Malicious software, however, will probably do much worse. Malware can
eat up your time, money, and peace of mind, and possibly steal your
identity. If you don’t feel confident about installing security
software, let your computer support provider handle the job.
#6. “My subscription kept expiring.”
Most subscriptions are good for one year. Those onscreen reminders
telling you that it’s time to renew are just like the
“time-for-maintenance” light on the dashboard of your car. They can be
annoying, and sometimes go off prematurely, but aren’t you grateful
they’re there to remind you?
#5. “It slows down my system.”
We make trade-offs between speed and safety every day. Going without
security software is always a bad choice. Not all security software is
of the same quality or performs equally well. If the one you have bogs
down your system too much, install one that doesn’t. For shopping tips,
see Reason #1 below.
#4. “I thought it came with the computer.”
It probably did, like the seatbelts and airbags in your car. But even
so, you have to activate and update pre-installed security software or
it will not protect your system effectively. Most new computers come
with 30 to 90-day trial versions of security software. When the trial
is nearly up, you’ll see onscreen warnings and instructions for how to
buy a full subscription.
#3. “It’s too expensive.”
How about less than $100 a year? One-year subscriptions to the leading, good-quality, all-in-one security suites, that include anti-virus,
anti-spyware, anti-phishing, anti-spam, and a two-way software firewall, are available in retail stores for $50 to $80. Many are offered on a 30 to 90-day free trial basis and at a discount-usually $10 off-if you buy online and download the software. Some products can be installed on two or three systems, cutting the cost of protecting each computer by 50% or more. Before you buy, check with your Internet Service Provider. You may be eligible to receive a good-quality security suite at low-cost or at no cost.
#2. “Macs don’t need security.”
Mac users are just as susceptible to deception as users of Windows or
any other operating system. Scam phishing emails, infected email
attachments, and rigged websites are the most rapidly growing
threats-not malicious software or things that exploit “holes” in
software. These deceptions target users, not computers, and don’t need
a “hole” to succeed. Good-quality security suites can detect deceptions
and include tools to help you avoid revealing sensitive and personal
information, such as social security, credit card and PIN numbers, as
well as usernames and passwords, unwittingly or to the wrong people.
#1. “I don’t know what to buy or how to install it.”
– – Shop for a security software suite as you would when purchasing any
– – Gather information and recommendations from IT at the office, your
Internet Service provider, or your computer support provider.
– – Get some good bets by reading comparative reviews of competing
products published by third-parties, such as PCWorld, Consumer Reports, and MacWorld.
– – Hedge your bet by opting for a trial version, if available, and one
that you can upgrade to a full subscription without reinstalling.
– – Weigh effectiveness, performance, features, support and, lastly,
price-at most a difference of $30/year.
– – Verify that the product includes anti-virus, anti-spyware,
anti-phishing, anti-spam, a two-way software firewall, and automatic
– – Performance and effectiveness are judged best by the results of
professional testing, like those performed by AV-test.org and
– – If you run into difficulties, telephone support is preferable to email
or online chat.
– – Familiarize yourself with the installation steps before you begin. If
you get lost or stuck, call the software manufacturer’s technical
support line for assistance.
– – If you don’t feel confident about installing security software, turn
the job over to your computer support provider.
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Remember, home computing is a blast…keep it productive and enjoyable.
Courtesy MS Clip Art
In my previous post Is Your Computer Slowing Down? Part II I discussed using software packages to clean up old, extraneous files from your computer in order to increase its speed. In this post, I’d like to make you aware of the existence of some very unscrupulous websites that you should avoid. They sell what the computer security community calls “scareware”. Continue reading