Task 9 - The Invasion - Adware, Spyware, Malware

An invasion of your computer may be occurring without you knowing it!  Even if you have virus protection software loaded on your computer you also need protection from Adware and Spyware.  Spyware is the common term for a wide variety of non-viral programs that are typically installed onto a user's PC without their knowledge. In this respect they are illusive invaders because the presence of them is typically hidden from the user without their knowledge. Spyware comes in many forms.  Some are simply an annoyance, while others threaten privacy and security.   Malware is short for malicious software and includes computer viruses, worms, trojan horses. 

 

Definitions & Destruction

keep in mind that these definitions can overlap with each other. For example, adware by itself is harmless; however some adware may come with integrated spyware that can come with be integrated  a form of spyware that collects information about the user in order to target advertisements to them.

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Adware is advertising-supported software.  a type of spyware that collects information about the user by tracking their browsing activity in order to target advertising. 

A symptom of spyware is If you are inundated with unwanted "pop-up" ads.

The difference between Adware and Spyware

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Spyware - software that Infiltrates your computer without your consent to spy on your activity.  

Spyware - Malware 101: Understanding the secret Digital War of the Internet

For example it may Snoop on your browsing activity and Track your Internet activities, e.g. purchases.  It can range from annoying (pop-up ads) to dangerous (key loggers and other privacy-invasive software).

Sometimes the price of free is just too high!

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Frequently Malware comes in the form of Rogue Security software 

For example, while you are browsing the Internet you receive a pop-up message that your computer is infected - it is a hoax.  Do not click on the popup.  Examples include the security tools virus and the Antivirus 2009Press Control Alt-Delete on your keyboard and open the task manager and end the process of your browser.

Key loggers come in many forms.  It could be a device that is installed on your computer tracking your every key stroke.  Key loggers can also be software encoded in pictures and audio files that your download.

Macs are not immune to viruses - they own 16% of the market

All of these are prevalent threats to your online computer privacy and security.  In addition spyware can do the following:

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Slow down your PC, or cause it to crash

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Hijack your browser / alter computer system files

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Track your browsing activity

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Steal personal information without your permission, such as credit card numbers

Is your computer Infected?????

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Most likely.  If you're like most Internet users, chances are you're probably infected with these files.

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Simply surfing the Internet, reading e-mail, downloading music or other files can infect your PC without you knowing it.

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It cannot be detected by anti-virus or firewall software.

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Statistically 9 out of 10 computers are infected by Spyware, Adware or Malware.

Test your Knowledge

Beware of Spyware Quiz

Lavasoft Security Center - Assess your risk

 

Tools to Fight Back

Avoid Malware - Prevention is the key

How to Avoid Malware and Keep you PC Error Free

Tip # 1: Your first step to prevent unauthorized access to your PC is to implement a firewall. A good firewall helps you combat both viruses and hackers. Most home computer users get enough security by enabling the Windows Firewall. However, if you have more sensitive data stored on your PC, it is recommended that you use a more robust third-party firewall to provide you with better protection.

Tip # 2: You must not use P2P (Peer to Peer) file sharing applications such as Limewire. Watch this Video - why file sharing programs are dangerous.  If you have any file sharing program on your PC, then there is a 99.9% chance that your PC will get infected with a malware. This is because there is no way in which you can determine the integrity and health of the content from the source you are downloading.

Tip # 3: Stop before opening any email attachments, unless you are sure about what it contains - even if it is from a known email address. Many virus programs, send infected attachments to email IDs in the Address Book of the infected computer. This is the reason why, even if your email is from a known source, it might contain infected email attachments. You may use a good anti-spam software to scan both outgoing and incoming emails to your computer.

Tip # 4: Many times when you access a Web page, a pop-up display may appear carrying some type of advertisement. You must never click inside this pop-up box to close—not even the ‘close’ and ‘cancel’ buttons if they are within the box. Doing this may have adverse affects on your PC. Press Control-Alt-Delete on your keyboard and open the task manager and end the process of your browser.

Tip # 5: While working on your PC, you may receive a message informing you that your PC is infected with a malware, and that you must download a particular software and run a scan to remove the virus. You must never download this recommended software because they are most commonly rogue software that may cause further harm to your PC.

Tip # 6: You must avoid downloading free media and software because they are usually bundled with unwanted malware programs. Also, if you have to download something, then do so from a trusted website.  Download updates from the manufacturer website, not other sources which you are not sure about.

Tip # 7: Lastly, make sure to use a good registry cleaner tool to scan and clean your registry on a regular basis. This will help you remove any malware entries hiding deep within the registry tree and ensure complete virus removal from your system.  Source: Computer Tech Links  How to Avoid Malware and Keep you PC Error Free

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Inside Spyware:  A guide to finding, removing and preventing online pests.

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How to Avoid Malware and Viruses Tips you need to follow

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Kreb's 3 basic rules for Online Safety - my favorite is rule 1: "if you didn't go looking for it, don't install it" rule 2 is very applicable as well: "if you installed it, update it"

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How our instinctive responses pose the biggest risk to our online safety and security!  It's the wild wild west out there.  Be careful before you click; malicious sites can masquerade as interesting and legitimate sites.

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Online Fraud - How to Avoid being a participant

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PDF attack prevention best practices

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Pop-up blocker's are built into Browsers such as Internet Explorer and Firefox.
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Other toolbars (listed below) which you may be using at home, encompass pop-up blockers as well

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Google

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Yahoo

Virus, Spyware & Malware Removal  & Protection Software – On your home computer make sure you have  virus protection software along with Spyware/Malware removal software installed.  Most Virus protection programs today are bundled with anti-spyware protection as well. 

Make sure you only have 1 anti-virus program installed on your computer or they may conflict with each other.

This software is available for your personal use at home.

AV Test the Independent IT Security Institute - this is an independent institute that rates security products for your computer.

CNET Security Software Reviews/downloads
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Malware bytes

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Ad-Aware is designed to provide advanced protection from known Data-mining, aggressive advertising, Parasites, Scumware, selected traditional Trojans, Dialers, Malware, Browser hijackers, and tracking components.  The *free* version is available for home use. In addition they have added virus protection to this product.  The free version is available when you sign up for an advertiser offer.

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Spybot - Search & Destroy can detect and remove spyware of different kinds from your computer. Spyware is a relatively new kind of threat that common anti-virus applications do not yet cover. If you see new toolbars in your Internet Explorer that you didn't intentionally install, if your browser crashes, or if you browser start page has changed without your knowing, you most probably have spyware. But even if you don't see anything, you may be infected, because more and more spyware is emerging that is silently tracking your surfing behavior to create a marketing profile of you that will be sold to advertisement companies. Spybot-S&D is free, so there's no harm in trying to see if something snooped into your computer

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Microsoft Security Essentials - offers FREE Virus, Spyware & malware protection for your home PC

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Avira Anti-Virus

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Eset Smart Security 4

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Suggested sites for Free Security Software for your PC by Kim Komando

 

To Conclusion

Other resources:

Spyware Removers Review