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Spyware Concerns -- Prevention and
This is our sixth weekly
In previous weeks we reviewed how
spyware can get into our computers and what it can do when
it's in there - now lets review some methods to prevent it
There are some very
effective things you can, and must do to prevent spyware from
infecting your computer system. Obviously, you need anti-spyware
Anti-spyware programs combat spyware by providing real-time
protection, scanning, and removal of any found spyware software.
Both Free and paid programs are avaiable for immediate download from
the Internet. The CNET Download website is an outstanding source for
Among the most popular anti-spyware programs listed there recently
Lavasoft Ad-Aware.( 5 of
5 star ranking) free and purchased available - $29.95
Webroot Spy Sweeper.( 3
of 5 stars) - free demo, purchase for $29.95
PC Tools Spyware Doctor.
( 3 of 5 stars) - free demo, purchase $29.95
My recommendation is to install two (2) anti-spyware programs. Ad-Aware's
free version will find and remove most of the pests, but since no
single anti-spyware program seems to find all of the pests,
investing in the paid version of either of the other two is an
investment in your security and peace of mind.
Other options provide anti-spyware software as part of an anti-virus
package. These include various combinations of protective programs,
ie, firewalls, anti-virus, spam blockers, etc., and are more
expensive that anti-spyware software alone. Often, individually
installed components are more effective than some that are included
in the packages.
Also consider the impact your browser can have on your computer
safety and security. Internet Explorer (IE) is often a contributor
to the spyware problem because spyware programs like to attach
themselves to its functionality. Spyware writers enjoy penetrating
the IEs weaknesses. Because of this, many users have switched to
non-IE browsers. (These are also under attack as they grow in
However, if you prefer to stick with Internet Explorer, be sure to
update the security patches regularly, and only download programs
from reputable sources. This will help reduce your chances of a
Regardless of your choice of browser, be sure to have an up-to-date
firewall and keep your anti-virus program updates current.
And, when all else fails?
Finally, if your computer has been infected with a large number of
spyware programs, the only solution you may have is backing up your
data, and performing a complete reinstall of the operating system. ... Richard
Visit the CNET Download site HERE
August 9, 2006Spyware Concerns,
our fifth weekly
Now that we know how spyware gets into our computers, we'll
take a look at what these pests do while they are in there.
Spyware does a lot of really
nasty stuff. Some of the things they do are simply annoying; others can become downright aggressive. For example, spyware can
Monitor your keystrokes for
Scan files located on your hard
Install other spyware programs
into your computer
Change the default settings on
your home page web browser
Snoop through applications on
Steal credit card numbers,
passwords, and other personal
Read your cookies.
Deliver annoying pop up
Provide no uninstall option and
hide in unexpected or hidden
places within your computer making it difficult to remove.
Mutate into a second generation
of spyware thus making it
more difficult to eradicate.
Cause your computer to run slower
Add advertising links to web
pages for which the author
get paid. Instead, payment is directed to the
that changed the original affiliates settings
Here are a few examples of commonly seen spyware programs. Please
note that while researchers will often give names to spyware
programs, they may not match the names the spyware-writers use.
CoolWebSearch, a group
of programs that install through holes found in Internet
Explorer. These programs direct traffic to advertisements on Web
sites including coolwebsearch.com. This spyware nuisance displays
pop-up ads, rewrites search engine
results, and alters the computer host file to direct the Domain Name
System (DNS) to lookup preselected sites.
(a/k/a DyFuCa), redirects Internet Explorer error pages to
180 Solutions reports
extensive information to advertisers about the Web sites which you
HuntBar (a/k/a WinTools) or Adware.Websearch
is distributed by Traffic Syndicate
and is installed by ActiveX drive-by downloading at affiliate
websites or by advertisements displayed by other spyware programs.
Its a prime example of how spyware can install more spyware. These
programs will add toolbars to Internet Explorer, track Web browsing
behavior, and display advertisements.
In next weeks'
we'll look at ways to prevent spyware and
remove it from your computer.
Until then, you could make sure your operating systems are up to
date with the latest downloads for Internet Explorer, Firefox, or
browser you use.
... Richard More information: Adware
and Spyware Removers
August 6, 2006Scammers making increased use
of telephones to steal from you
Among the latest Scams, one
the Security experts call "vishing", instead of using phony email
messages, the targeted person receives a telephoned warning about a
problem with their PayPal account.
In one version of this trick, the message gives instructions to call
a phone number to resolve the issues. That number connects the
caller to a voice response system asking the consumer to enter their
16-digit credit card number.
In another version, a ConArtist calls and reports a problem with a
credit card account and asks the card holder for the 3 digit
security number on the back of the card. This Con artist trick is so
well done and believable that many people fall for it because the
caller already knows their credit card number and all they are asked
to provide is the three-digit security code.
If you get a telephone call where someone asks you to provide or
confirm any of your personal information, immediately hang up and
call your financial institution at the number on the back of the
card on on your printed account statement.
Be extra cautious of emails reporting account or credit card
problems. Some of the latest official looking emails with PayPal
logos don't include a link for replying. They provide a telephone
number and direct you to call to straighten out a problem.
The call leads to an
automatic telephone answering machine where you are asked to provide
your private information.
The lesson - Never give anyone your credit card number or the
three-digit security code on the back of the card unless you
initiate the call. ... Richard
Con Artist |
August 2, 2006
our fourth weekly
One day each week devoted to
a specific security issue - to remind all of us Internet and
Computer users about keeping our defenses intact and current.
Here's how Spyware gets into your Computer
Spyware is one of the
fastest-growing internet threats. According to the National Cyber
Security Alliance, spyware infects more than 90% of all PCs today.
These unobtrusive, malicious programs are designed to silently
bypass firewalls and anti-virus software without your
knowledge. Once embedded in a computer, yhry can wreak havoc on the
systems performance while gathering your personal information.
Fortunately, unlike viruses and worms, spyware programs do not
Where does it come from?
Typically, spyware originates in three ways. The first and most
common way is when you install it. In this situation, spyware is
embedded, attached, or bundled with a freeware or shareware program
without your knowledge. You download the program to your computer.
Once downloaded, the spyware program starts to collect data
for the spyware authors personal use or to sell to a third-party.
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing programs are notorious for
downloads that posses spyware programs.
When downloading a program, pay extra attention to the accompanying
licensing agreement - commonly referred to as an EULA (End Users
Often the software publisher will bury a warning in the fine print
that a program will be installed along with the requested
program. It probably won't be named spyware or adware.
Unfortunately, we do not always take the time to read the
fine print. Some agreements may provide special opt-out boxes that
you can click to stop the spyware from being included in the
download. Be sure to review the document before clicking the
Spyware can get into your computer by tricking you into changing
the security features designed to prevent any unwanted
installations. The Internet Explorer Web browser was designed not to
allow websites to start any unwanted downloads. Thats why you have
to initiate a download by clicking on a link. These links can prove
deceptive. For example, a pop-up modeled after a standard Windows
dialog box may appear on your screen. The message may ask if you
would like to optimize your internet access. It provides yes or no
answer buttons, but, no matter which button you push, a download
containing the spyware program will commence. .
Finally, some spyware applications infect a system by attacking
security holes in the Web browser or other software. When you
navigate a webpage controlled by a spyware author, the page contains
code designed to attack the browser, and force the installation of
the spyware program.
In next week's Security Review, we'll discuss what Spyware actually does and
how to start
building your defenses against it. ... Richard More information: Adware
and Spyware Removers
Aug 1, 2006 (Repeated)
A breach in your personal privacy
protection could easily lead to
hackers, online, and offline thieves stealing your identity.
The threat of Identity Loss exists on more
than the Internet. The potential for the theft of our identities is
everywhere around us. Read on to learn how you can protect yourself-
Nearly everyone is aware that Identity
Theft is a serious crime and that people whose identities have
been stolen can spend months or years - and their hard-earned money
- cleaning up the mess thieves have made of their good name and
Despite our best efforts to manage the flow of personal
information or to keep it to ourselves, skilled Identity Thieves
use a variety of methods to gain access to our personal data.
Can we fight back? Yes! One of the best ways is to be
informed of the tricks and ploys used by Identity Theft criminals
and to understand how they attack. Forewarned is Forearmed!
And you can be fully armed with all of the vital information
you need to secure your identity, know where to turn, what to do,
and how to respond if you ever have the sad misfortune of
becoming a victim.
There's a lot to know, and you can learn it from our Free
E-COURSE in IDENTITY THEFT and OTHER SCAMS".
With the generous assistance of Victor K Pryles, a popular
media consultant, radio broadcaster, publisher and Author, we
developed this e-course to arm you, your family and your friends
against the devastating consequences of Identity Theft
It really does cover everything you need to know to protect
In fact, it is so meaty with USEFUL, VITAL information that
lessons arrive every four days - so you can implement what you
learn AS YOU GO THRU THE LESSONS. There are eight lessons, in
After taking this Free course, you'll be protected, wise, savvy and
safe, because you'll learn
* How Identity Theft Occurs
* How to prepare your defenses
* How to tell if you're a victim
* Immediate steps for victims to take
* Where and How to get your free Credit Reports
This is a Free course for followers of my Security Alert Blog,
newsletter and website and you will not get any commercial
announcements after registering for it.
After you send your blank email, you will be
sent a CONFIRMATION email. Click the link inside to
start your E-Course. This way, no one can sign you up without your
I do hope you sign-up and share it with
your family and friends. You can print each lesson and have your own
hard copy of the manual, or you might prefer to share the email
address above so your friends can get their own lessons.
It's Free to them, too.
PS. When you receive your first lesson, Victor will give you a
Complimentary copy of: "The Top 501 Most Inspirational Quotes!" from
his "ilovebooks" book club. In the meantime, you might like to check
out some of his other inspiring books in his
I'd like to hear from you.
Your comments are really appreciated. Try to avoid anything inappropriate (hateful, abusive,
explicit, etc.), they'll be deleted before posting.
Please stick to the theme of "Security Awareness and Safety on the
Internet'. Your email address will never be displayed and will not
be shared with third parties.
.... Richard Rossbauer
July 1, 2006 (UPDATED) Use RSS
add current Web Feeds to
automatically update your daily reading lists
More and more of my favorite websites, newsletters and blogs
Now, even more display the
button. Clicking on it automatically adds that feed to my personal
MyYahoo page. If you don't have a Free 'MyYahoo' page, it's very easy to get one from the Yahoo site.
The same is true for
Using RSS feeds has saved a lot of time!, I don't have to go on a search for the latest
information published on my favorite sites -- every new bit of information, post, or
announcement appears in my RSS Reader. (The new IE7 browser is expected to
refer to these as "Web Feeds.")
After you put the first Web Feed into you RSS Feed Reader and have
up-to-date notices delivered to you without worry about
opening an email notice, you'll appreciate how great this RSS stuff
really is. Try It. You'll enjoy it!.
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