The Computer Buzz
||September 25th, 2008|
Nome and Paul Van Middlesworth - owners - The Computer Factory
You've done everything right. Your virus scan is up to date and you regularly sweep for spyware, you've avoided social sites like Face Book and My Space. Bonzai Buddy and Limewire are distant memories. You never open attachments from unknown sources. Then one fine day, KABOOM. Your screen blasts the warning. YOU ARE INFECTED.
The warning comes from a legitimate sounding source like Win Anti-spyware 2008, Win Anti-virus 2009, Windows Anti-virus, and Anti-spyware Pro XP. It may even appear to come from your own "malware" prevention software. You click to see what its talking about and it moves in.
These are actuall spyware attacks. They will alter your desktop and system preferences to display alert messages and instigate system scans in an attempt to con you into purchasing their sham security tool.
If you accept the offer and purchase any of these products, you will lose the $30 to $50 they typically charge and receive nothing in return, and you may have released your credit card information to a criminal network. At the very least you will make the WWW "suckers list" and be bombarded with similar phony offers.
There is little you can do to prevent the initial attack. You can catch "drive by" spyware just from visiting a site. No download required. The problems begin when you accept any innocent offer for more information.
If you are attacked and can identify the threat by name, "Google" it and see what remedies exist. If the instructions are complicated and you don't feel comfortable with the process don't try it. You may do more damage than good.
In the past month we have seen scores of PCs with this type of spyware infection. Only four customers actually accepted the offer to buy the phony scanning packages. While the others did not fall for the deception, their computers were still infected with the come-on spyware. Until the spyware is removed, the computer will be plagued with pop-ups, false warnings and slow or erratic operation.
Malware creators concentrate their efforts on Microsoft operating systems and browsers because about 90% of PCs utilize Windows and/or Internet Explorer. Non-Microsoft browsers like Mozilla, Opera or Google's new "Chrome" can significantly reduce your vulnerability.
Apple's PCs are an alternative. They're a bit pricy for what is essentially a Dell with a different operating system and they suffer from limited applications but, with only a single digit slice of the PC market, they don't attract nearly as much attention from the bad guys.
Linux based PCs with open source applications software represent a growing threat to both Microsoft and Apple. With malware immunity, stability, speed, low cost and thousands of available applications, Linux based PC are becoming a viable alternativge.
Come on in and take a test drive on a PC with Ubuntu (Linux) and sample the joys of life without Microsoft or Apple.