VISUAL NEWSLETTER DEC 2008

 


POISONED WEB-SITE WARNINGS

 

Within the last month there have been a large number of cases where users were infected by Malicious or Poisoned Web-Sites. These sites pose as something they are not by advertising search criteria that a person might be looking for, with the sole intention of snaring innocent victims that stumble into the site. I tripped into one myself looking for a data recovery utility a couple of weeks ago.

 

Typically, a pop-up ad indicates that an error has been detected on your computer and suggests that you click a button to correct it. Should you do this, a malicious piece of software will install itself on your computer and then your problems will really begin.

 

Another common scam is the message that an Activex Control or new Video Player is required to view this site. This closely resembles prompts at quite legitimate sites like Microsoft or Apple but the results are quite different. Again, a malicious program will invade your computer if you proceed.

 

Some new sites have even found ways to infect your computer without even having to click on anything which means you have only to hit these sites once to become infected.

 

Once these programs have infected your computer they can create a great deal of havoc. One of the most common ones is called Anti-Virus Pro 2009. This claims to have located several viruses, but it needs to be updated to be able to remove them properly.

 

If you go ahead with this you will be giving your credit card numbers to a bunch of criminals and your computer will actually end up in far worse shape than when you started. This message pops-up every few seconds until it is properly removed. Removal is often complicated and you may need professional help to remove or disable it in some cases.

 

AVOIDING INTERNET INFECTIONS

 

A good Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware product can help you avoid the worst of these infections, but they must be kept up to date. Occasionally older products, even if their subscriptions have been updated, are unable to handle the newer software invaders.

 

Microsoft is also involved in fighting these culprits but it requires that you apply the Windows Security Updates that appear on the bottom right corner of your computer screen. These are accompanied by a small Yellow Shield icon. Recently these new invasive programs have created icons similar to those used by Microsoft in order to deceive users into believing Windows itself is asking them to do things. Anti-Virus Pro 2009 creates a Red Circle with an X in it that looks a lot like the Microsoft Security Centre Warning.

 

The best way to avoid these infections is to surf the web cautiously. The Internet can almost be compared to venturing into a dark alley at times. You need to be aware of whats out there and what to do if you come across it.

 

Fortunately, most of the bad products out there still require that you do something to activate them which gives you a chance to escape without an infection. If you see a suspicious pop-up message on the Internet do the following to exit the page safely. Merely clicking the red X in the corner of the window will often be enough to activate it.

 

Pressing <ALT> <F4> will often close the Window. It may also close Internet Explorer as well. If this does not work, close Internet Explorer completely. Do this by clicking File and Exit on the Internet Explorer Menu.

 

If this does not work, press <CTRL> <ALT> <DEL> to bring up the Task Manager. In the Task Manager select Applications and click on Internet Explorer and End Task to exit safely.