Your Computer May Be Infected. Here's How To Check.. (NOT about virus)
NOTE: Please take time to read on - it may be vital for your PC's security. If you are not in the mood, just save it or print it out for later reference.
A recent research revealed that 80% of the computers today is infected with these dangerous spyware and most of the users not aware of it. (Your computer could fall into this lot too.) The most dangerous fact is, even though the anti-virus software is running, these software can even inactivate them and take over your PC.
Have you experienced any of the following?
- Awsome popups comes out of nowhere, when browsing the web
- Home page reset to some other site
How can this happen?
- The components installed when viewing certain sites, starts up and running as soon as it's finished installing (or after the page is completely loaded) and with every windows startup since then. Their job is to collect information and report (or transfer) it to an external computer.
What is deceptive software? (Reference: www.microsoft.com)
Spyware and unauthorized adware are two examples of "deceptive" software. Deceptive software includes programs which take over your home page or search page without first getting your permission. There are a number of ways deceptive software can get on your system. A common trick is to covertly install the software during the installation of other software you want such as a music or video file sharing program.
Whenever you are installing something on your computer, make sure you carefully read all disclosures, including the license agreement and privacy statement. Sometimes the inclusion of adware in a given software installation is documented, but it may appear at the end of a license agreement or privacy statement.
Sometimes deceptive software gets silently installed on your system without any warning at all. If you use Internet Explorer as your Web browser, this can happen if your Internet Explorer security setting is set to its lowest value. Make sure to keep this setting at the medium level or higher. Doing so will help you control what is being installed on your computer.
Have you ever had an experience where you were repeatedly asked to accept a download even after you said "no"? Creators of deceptive software often use such tricks to get you to load their software. If this happens to you, do not click "yes". Instead, try to close the Web page that first asked you to accept the download by hitting the "X" in the corner of the window. Alternatively, quit Internet Explorer and restart it to begin browsing the Internet again. If you visit a Web page that continually displays these tricky pop-up windows, that Web site may not be worthy of your trust.
Your computer may be infected by now, but you may not know. Just have a checkup with a software specifically designed for it, to know the status of your computer. You must clean infections once you find it and the game is not over yet. The spyware might reinfect your PC. So it's highly recommended that you run a firewall on your system after the clean up. This will allow you to monitor every single communication occurs with your computer and block the ones which you feel unnecessary. The firewall acts as a barrier between your PC and the external world (Internet / Network).
A good spyware detector recommended by most people is, http://noadware.cjb.net and it shows you all the infections and potential dangers in great detail. It's free to scan but not to clean. It's a good idea to have a scan even you have no idea of cleaning, since you know the status of your PC in great detail. This gives two advantages.
Firstly, if there are minor infections and if you have a fair knowledge on registry settings and how to edit them, you may have a try to clean them up. Secondly, if it shows that there are major infections, you can avoid using credit cards and doing other confidential stuff, until you clean it up later.
You must run a firewall. In many new operating systems (eg. Windows XP), there is a built-in firewall. Google search on how to activate it. Others may try one at http://www.download.com
You may have a question by now. What is the purpose of these spyware? Even though we cannot give an explicit and clear cut answer, we can safely state that every thing boils down to the urge of more profits. How? The spyware collects all your personal information and transfer it to an external computer. The information is reviewed by a software in the receiving computer and then deleivered targeted popup ads to your PC. There are many things that spyware does in addition to this. The most dangerous of those is that collecting the credit card numbers.
If you have some technical knowledge on your PC, here's a technical explanation on what trouble does the spyware cause.
1. An extra process is running to monitor and log your activities in your PC.
2. Constant transfer is taking place between your PC and the spyware writer's computer.
The first process in it self is an unneeded process and it contributes to slow down your PC. Second is the most harmful. It transfers logged info to the external PC (spyware writer's PC). Then the external PC transfers targeted popups to the infected PC. This, in addition to slowing down your PC because of these extra processes, it also slows down the internet connection, as the bandwidth is shared. In short, PC with a spyware is like a dumping ground for snakes. Once its there and up and running, it can do almost anything with your PC.
Please pass this on to all you know. The most risk is for people who use Internet Explorer, as it is the most popular web browser and that very fact has drawn more attention of many malicious software developers.
Fazly Mohamed - fazlymohamed @ yahoo.com