Saturday, November 11, 2006

Adware & Spyware & Viruses - Oh My!

I used to be the clueless type of computer user that doesn't do backups and doesn't use anti-virus/anti-spyware software.

Until I had to.

I had this one infection when SOMEONE, who will remain nameless (OK, it was my own damn fault!), was using my computer at home and they clicked a scammer link in an email. The next day I had pop-up menus galore, and weird "freezes." That was back in the "old days" when the pond-scum virus writers let you know you were infected. Nowadays, they don't. They could be after your bank details (key loggers) or to use your machine as a zombie in a DDoS attack.

I use a couple of different virus packages. First and foremost McAfee VirusScan. It has been very good at stopping the nasties and it's very inexpensive. And, because I'm a bit paranoid, I also use the most excellent AVG Free edition that is constantly updated and can scan emails as well as doing daily scans (the McAfee one is more flexible on scheduling).

Adware and Spyware are a whole separate deal and you need software that protects you against both.

There are actually underground sites that act like "help wanted" exchanges for crooks and virus/worm/trojan writers. Apparently, your computer is worth about $.50 to $2.50. How long will it take you to rid your computer of the scourge crap? The national average is between 3 and 12 hours - depending on your technical ability.

The best offense in this case is a good defense. You should have a virus protector, and you should also have those products scan for spyware and adware. If you want extra protection, you can also use a product like NoAdware to scan for spyware (free!), and to immunize yourself for the future.

Most of all - you need to ACT. TODAY. Download these tools and let them run over night or over the weekend - and DISCONNECT your computer from the Internet until you're sure you're safe! These people are not fooling around - you shouldn't either!

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