Cyber Security Alert!!!

Oktubre 30, 2009

Are you familiar with cyber security? Recently, I just encountered this alert system. And my experience to this was not quite good or rather turned me into a bad mood.  So I’m warning all of you guys to be careful with this so called “alert system”.

While I’m navigating internet explorer, a red splash screen  just popped-up in my monitor and I couldn’t go to any websites.  This red splash screen says that my computer is at risk from virus threat.  At first I thought that cyber security alert system is an anti-virus system that will protect my computer to any threat virus.  I couldn’t resolve my problem that’s why i called an IT specialist in our office to help me get through it.  The IT specialist said that cyber security is not an anti-virus alert system. It’s a spyware that is luring around the corner.

What is a spyware? The term spyware doesn’t refer to something used by undercover operatives, but rather by the advertising industry. Spyware is also known as “adware”. It refers to a category of software that when installed on your computer may send you pop-ups, redirect your browser to certain web sites, or monitor the web sites that you visit.  Some invasive versions of spyware may track exactly what keys you type. Well, that’s really scary.

Even the IT specialist that attended to my computer was not able to resolved my problem with this cyber security spyware. I don’t want you guys to experience what happened to me so here’s some information that will help you to avoid being victimized with spyware or adware:

How do you know if there is spyware on your computer?

The following symptoms may indicate that spyware is installed on your computer:

* you are subjected to endless pop-up windows

* you are redirected to web sites other than the one you typed into your browser

* new, unexpected toolbars appear in your web browser

* new, unexpected icons appear in the task tray at the bottom of your screen

* your browser’s home page suddenly changed

* the search engine your browser opens when you click “search” has been changed

* certain keys fail to work in your browser (e.g., the tab key doesn’t work when you are moving to the next field within a form)

* random Windows error messages begin to appear

* your computer suddenly seems very slow when opening programs or processing tasks (saving files, etc.)

How can you prevent spyware from installing on your computer?

To avoid unintentionally installing it yourself, follow these good security practices:

* Don’t click on links within pop-up windows – Because pop-up windows are often a product of spyware, clicking on the window may install spyware software on your computer. To close the pop-up window, click on the “X” icon in the titlebar instead of a “close” link within the window.

* Choose “no” when asked unexpected questions – Be wary of unexpected dialog boxes asking whether you want to run a particular program or perform another type of task. Always select “no” or “cancel,” or close the dialog box by clicking the “X” icon in the titlebar.

* Be wary of free downloadable software – There are many sites that offer customized toolbars or other features that appeal to users. Don’t download programs from sites you don’t trust, and realize that you may be exposing your computer to spyware by downloading some of these programs.

* Don’t follow email links claiming to offer anti-spyware software – Like email viruses, the links may serve the opposite purpose and actually install the spyware it claims to be eliminating.

As an additional good security practice, especially if you are concerned that you might have spyware on your machine and want to minimize the impact, consider taking the following action:

* Adjust your browser preferences to limit pop-up windows and cookies – Pop-up windows are often generated by some kind of scripting or active content. Adjusting the settings within your browser to reduce or prevent scripting or active content may reduce the number of pop-up windows that appear. Some browsers offer a specific option to block or limit pop-up windows. Certain types of cookies are sometimes considered spyware because they reveal what web pages you have visited. You can adjust your privacy settings to only allow cookies for the web site you are visiting (see Browsing Safely: Understanding Active Content and Cookies and Evaluating Your Web Browser’s Security Settings for more information).

How do you remove spyware?

* Run a full scan on your computer with your anti-virus software – Some anti-virus software will find and remove spyware, but it may not find the spyware when it is monitoring your computer in real time. Set your anti-virus software to prompt you to run a full scan periodically (see Understanding Anti-Virus Software for more information).

* Run a legitimate product specifically designed to remove spyware – Many vendors offer products that will scan your computer for spyware and remove any spyware software. Popular products include Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware, Webroot’s SpySweeper, PestPatrol, and Spybot Search and Destroy.

* Make sure that your anti-virus and anti-spyware software are compatible – Take a phased approach to installing the software to ensure that you don’t unintentionally introduce problems (see Coordinating Virus and Spyware Defense for more information).

(source: http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/tips/ST04-016.html)

The internet  has become an ideal target for advertising because of its popularity. As a result, spyware has become increasingly prevalent.  You may discover that the source of the problem in your pc just like what happened to me  is a spyware software that has been installed on your machine without your knowledge. So be careful when pop-ups suddenly appear in your computer.


One comment

  1. Having a adware spyware removal tool is essential in keeping your computer running smoothly.

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