Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Security Alert — An Infection Has Been Detected!

Online crime is bigger than the global drugs trade¹. The Internet shadow economy is worth over $105 billion.  No country, no person, no business and no government is immune from CyberCrime.

Currently there is an epidemic of fake anti-malware software on the Internet– which is collectively called “rogue anti-malware“ and/or “scareware”. Marketed under hundreds of different names, such as VirusRemover 2008 and Antivirus XP 2009, this type of rogue software scares people by giving false alarms, and then tries to deceive them into paying for removal of non-existing malware. [update: some of the newer ones are now encrypting your files, and requiring a ‘ransom’ for the key. Don’t pay. There is help online.]

This video shows what happens when a legitimate Website gets infected and redirected to one of these bogus anti-malware scams.
Yes, folks, legitimate websites are being ‘hacked’. (It’s called “poisoned”.)

The people behind this scourge use many different ways to try to entice you to click – realistic looking pop-up windows appear, offers of “free trials” arrive in e-mail, and “free scan” buttons on legit-looking ‘fight malware’ websites.. the means are quite varied!

As this video shows, the user is tricked into (scared into, really) providing their credit card #  to clean infections that weren’t there before they clicked and aren’t really there now.
* The ‘false positives’ are not “cleaned” BUT, more adware and spyware is installed.
* A good percentage of my calls at Aplus Computer Aid are folks needing help with getting rid of these rogues. Because these clever programs use the latest techniques to combat removal, and it can be quite tough — if not impossible — to truly remove them.. without formatting your hard-drive.
* For more, please read Is that anti-spyware program really spyware?
* One Website dedicated to combating this epidemic is Spyware Warrior. It has a pretty good list of known rogues, and much more detailed information. Another excellent resource is Bleeping Computer.
* I have written several How-To’s on protecting yourself from malware, and how to clean your machines as well. Click here to see those titles.

¹ From a recent MessageLabs whitepaper. (This eye-opening report provides a disturbing look into the ‘dark’ world of cyber-crime. This link is the online version.. you need to scroll a bit..)

Today’s free download: WOT (Web Of Trust) is a free Internet security add-on for your browser. It will help keep you safer from online scams, identity theft, spyware, spam, viruses and unreliable shopping sites. WOT warns you before you interact with a risky Website. It’s easy and it’s free.

  • Ratings for over 22 million websites
  • Downloaded over 4 million times
  • The WOT browser addon is light and updates automatically
  • WOT rating icons appear beside search results in Google, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Gmail, etc.
  • Settings can be customized to better protect your family (new “Parental Control” setting blocks access to Web sites with a poor child safety rating and no rating at all)
  • WOT Security Scorecard shows rating details and user comments

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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April 16, 2009 Posted by | advice, antivirus, cyber crime, hackers, Internet, Internet scam, PC, phraud, privacy, security, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Dangerous Links, Phishing, and WOT

A recent article of mine has proven very popular. It discussed the recent epidemic of “rogue” antivirus and anti-spyware programs that is plaguing the Internet these days — such as Virus Response Lab 2009, Antivirus XP, and — literally  — hundreds of others.

These programs are really the tools used by cyber-criminals to infect your machine with malware… not clean it up, as you’re led to believe. (The article link [above] has a video demonstrating a rogue program.) As a bonus, you’re asked to provide your credit card number to buy the “full” (or, “Pro”) version.
What do you think criminals do with those cc#’s????

Regular readers are aware that I frequently post ‘alerts’ to the latest scams arriving via e-mail. Spam.

Here the latest, a classic phish:
Subject: Notification of e-gold account update
What I’d like you to notice is the red circle next to the hyperlink .

That is the WOT (Web Of Trust) toolbar’s (now automatically integrated into Gmail, because I’m viewing it in a browser) website rating.
I’m no rocket scientist.. but I am pretty sure red means “bad”.. and/or, “stop”.

This website rating — with its easy to understand color code — tool can really save you a lot of pain and loss from phishing and poisoned websites; because the criminals are going to tremendous efforts to make their scams look legit (and to poison truly legit sites).
I’ll say it again– the Internet today is a very insecure and dangerous place!

There are many anti-phishing tools and plug-ins and filters to choose from (some are built into your browser, if you enable them) but if you want a quick, clean, easy to understand warning tool– give the WOT toolbar a try.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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October 10, 2008 Posted by | advice, anti-spyware, antivirus, computers, cyber crime, e-mail, hackers, Internet, Internet scam, PC, Phishing, phraud, security, software, tech, Web 2.0 | , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments