There are simple steps that you can take at work and at home to ward off virus, spyware, and other malware attacks:
- While at work, do not open an e-mail from someone you don’t recognize.
Be very cautious with any e-mail attachment.
Be careful what you download.
Make sure you have Anti-Virus software.
Keep your Anti-Virus software and firewall up to date.
Scareware is another type of malware that has caught even experienced IT professionals off guard. The user might notice a pop-up appearing while browsing the Internet. The pop-up will indicate that a virus or other type of malware problem has been detected on the user’s PC and ask if the user wants to fix or remove the problem. Unfortunately, when the user responds, what may actually occur is that an executable virus is installed on the computer. With the virus install complete, the next step is for the offending software company whose software provided the virus to offer a solution for the virus but at a price to the user.
Once active on a computer, scareware can block attempts to update Windows or anti-virus software, prevent an anti-virus software scan, or automatically hijack a web browser. Scareware is also very difficult to remove, often immune to file deletion measures causing the user to have to reformat the computer’s hard drive (s) and reinstall an operating system and other applications.
Although not foolproof, the following measures can help to protect against a scareware attack.
- Keep the computer’s Windows software updated
- Use legitimate anti-virus and anti-spyware software and keep them updated
- Don’t automatically click on an unfamiliar or suspicious pop-up. Think before you click!
- Remove any suspicious pop-up by right-clicking on the item in the task bar at the bottom of the screen and selecting “Close” or by manually exiting the browser session using Ctrl-Alt-Delete. Avoid clicking on the exit symbol in the upper right hand corner of the pop-up.
Spyware is software that collects information from your computer as you use the Internet to visit websites. Spyware is automatically downloaded on to your computer when you visit some websites and used to track your internet activity. Spyware is known to hide in free software downloads and is sometimes known to carry viruses. You might even freely agree to accept commercial spyware when you agree to the end-user license agreement of a new downloaded program or game. What are symptoms of a spyware-laden computer?
- A barrage of pop-ups
- A hijacked browser – you type in an address and the browser takes you somewhere else
- New or unexpected toolbars or icons
- Sluggish system performance
Install anti-spyware software to ward off this threat.