I really can’t believe it: It has been four years since I first found spyware to be a major pain. That was when I started doing these on-site PC repairs to get rid of pop ups. Things have changed a lot since then though. The big hitters used to be Norton Antivirus 2005 and Webroot Spysweeper. With those, it was nearly impossible to catch something.
I’m not so sure today though. The ploys are the same, but the threats are worse. One bad click can have you wishing you had backed up all of that data on a regular basis. Many new variants I am finding can only be remedied with a fresh install of Windows, wiping your hard drive clean. The added benefit is that you are starting with a PC that runs better than it did when new, but what about all of your important files? I always try to back things up, but it is not always an option with some of the more dangerous infections.
By far the most popular form of malware is the fake antivirus or antispyware. Anyspyware 2009 is not real. Don’t download it.
I saw a funny one at my day job the other day too: the software didn’t do anything except change the screen resolution constantly and lock out the desired resolution for that monitor.
I’ve also seen malware search engines. Nothing like having your searches only show malware infected websites….
I am finding that users are getting dumber as time goes on. When all of this started, people were cautious about what sites they visited or what they downloaded. Today though, it seems that they want to go everywhere and download it all without t common sense that would tell them that they don’t need a search bar other than Yahoo, google, or Ask. I continue to see people using MS Internet Explorer: software known to be the target of many malware attacks. I just don’t get it.
The best defense is a good offense. Keep your security software healthy, updated, and within its renewal time. Use common sense when surfing the web. Find a way to get e-mail on the web rather than through Outlook. Don’t try to get things for free. It is pretty rare that free is good on the internet. Services like Limewire are bad. They are breeding grounds for malware and pirated software, music, and movies. Many malware installations are out there hiding as a movie or music file. Hint: use torrents or paid services instead.
If you are still having issues after all of that, buy a mac. Haha. Not really. Their day will come too, although it will be further down the road. You can however find a Linux distrobution and use it. Most can even be run from the CD/DVD. Since the userbase is still very small, the number of personal attackes is very low. Check back for future posts on that idea.