Privacy and SecurityHackers, spyware, virus, trojan's, Hijackers. Sound like something from the latest sci-fi blockbuster to you?
They are all out there, and no matter how difficult it is for you to understand the mentality of people who do these things, ignore them at your peril.
Your security, especially if you hold sensitive or personal information on your computer should be of concern.
New users are particularly vulnerable as they assume the internet is 'plug in and play' but you need to protect yourself against the attempts to breach your privacy which WILL happen, people WILL be snooping around in your computer without your knowledge or consent, they WILL send you potentially system crippling viruses, they WILL be spying on your internet activities, even recording every letter you type on your keyboard and they WILL install software which is difficult to remove, that will make sure you only see their commission earning advertisements or webpages.
In order for someone to invade your privacy they must first get into your computer. This access can be done secretly through various ports and connections to your computer, this can be achieved simply by being connected to the internet with an unprotected PC. Others take a more direct route and although unknowingly, you allow them into your computer when you download their software, view a web page or open their e-mail.
The methods being adopted are getting increasingly advanced, so are their attempts to avoid detection, they usually include some form of deception, coming packaged behind something apparently useful, needed or desirable.
Despite this, do not loose any sleep over it.These concerns can be addressed easily as new and better software is being developed all the time to help you combat any attempt to breech your privacy.
Download into your computer, software that will protect you. Most companies offer several versions of their programmes. Free, trial and the full paid versions.
The free versions will offer adequate protection and updates to include new vulnerabilities, but if you are in a position to be able to allocate some of your hard earned cash to your security you will get more resources for increased protection, in which case use the free trials and test them before you buy.
I am often asked, which is the best software? There are links within this website to applications that are very good at finding their specialised field. There are so many variants of malicious software, it would be almost impossible for one scanner to find everything, so companies tend to concentrate on one or two particular areas.
This is why one scanner will find things another one missed. The answer is to use more than one scanner, use the free versions, or free trials to find three of four different scanners which you are comfortable using.
The problem is the people who get their kicks doing these things (they really ought to get out more) do have the upper hand. They constantly strive for new viruses and unexposed vulnerabilities in computers and their connections, and fixes for their malicious workings cannot be made until after they have been exploited.
We deal with each threat in turn by offering a brief explanation as to the extent of the threat and then direct you to software you can download to maximise your security.
A brief word about common sense as this is your front line of defence, many attacks on your privacy can be avoided by following a few simple rules.
ALWAYS Keep your computer operating system up to date. Check regularly for updates to your Windows. Microsoft will scan your system and allow you to download all updates that have been issued. Many security issues are solved with a patch, to check your system now, click Start > programmes > windows updates , or click here.
Apple Mac users, click system preferences (The apple, top left) and click Software update from the drop down menu that appears.
ALWAYS read any license agreement, I know they can be tedious and drawn out but often you can agree to various forms of spyware and tracking devices being placed on your computer because you clicked the 'I accept' button without reading what you are accepting.
Look for things like
'connects to our server', 'Promotional/advertising/pop ups may be launched for the duration of time you spend online', 'may also collect certain information online and offline deriving from your navigation', 'this software will automatically update itself from time to time', 'other partners software can be installed',
The rule never sign anything without reading it is applied in life almost automatically now by most people, it should have the same regard on the internet.
here is a free tool that will read and analyze EULA's, and alert you of potentially dangerous terms EULAlyzer
DO NOT open any e mail attachment no matter how tempting the subject appears, unless you scan it for viruses first. This procedure is explained in the section dealing with e-mails.
DO NOT open or run any download unless you know it is virus and spyware free (Anti virus and anti spyware programmes allow you to scan individual downloads and software, even if it is supplied on a disk, before you open or run it). Viruses and spyware are looked at in more detail later.
NEVER, EVER give bank, card, password or other personal details unless you are on a page with a SSL certificate (Secure Sockets Layer). A secure site will always display a small padlock on the bottom right hand corner of the browser window, and its address will begin with https:// as opposed to http://.
SSL encrypts its contents during transit and descramble it only when it reaches its destination.
My personal view is that if someone enters my property via any method, uninvited they are at least trespassing.
If they take anything which belongs to me without my consent it is theft.
If they deliberately damage my property that is criminal damage.
Sooner or later one of these highly paid legal boffins (probably in America) will make some kind of a legal challenge (and probably make a fortune in the process), but sooner rather than later would benefit all of us.
So (finally), onto what you can do, we will start with the threat from e-mails. (for no other reason than it came into my head first).
Click the next button to discover how to reduce the risk.
Privacy & Security
hackers, crackers & firewalls
BHO's & Hijackers
Drive by downloads
Scams & Hoaxes
Free pest scan
Clean up/repair after malware infection
Prevent malware installing
Start in Safe mode
Show hidden files/folders
enable/disable Active X controls
Disable Messenger service pop-ups
Use the Host file
Removal tool for Rogue spyware removers & Fake Warnings
Kill Sdbot-ADD / lockx.exe
Kill seeve.exe / mediamotors pop ups
New Winfixer infection displays fake Blackworm warning
The real cost of Free security software
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