PROTECTION FROM POISONED WEB-SITES
While Viruses have always been a problem, larger Internet Providers such as Bell and Rogers have gotten much better at screening out viruses coming in via e-mail. Similarly, most users have developed enough sense to delete unsolicited e-mails from unknown sources. Microsoft, via Windows updates, and most Anti-Virus companies have also gotten much better at preventing the more common forms of e-mail and viral infections. For these reasons the culprits that create the viruses have taken a somewhat different approach to infecting your computer by basically asking for the userís assistance to affect the task.
This is most commonly known as the Poisoned Web-Site. Simple web-sites are created by these criminals and registered with search engines to pop-up when users do certain types of searches. They can appear to be anything from a porn or gambling site to a recipe for momís apple pie. Once a user trips into one of these sites their computer is in immediate danger of becoming infected.
Typically, a pop-up window will instruct the user to click here to do one of several things. The most obvious is to remove a detected virus. While your own Anti-Virus might do this, more often than not this is a simple scam to allow the site to infect your computer. Other simple scams simulate normal pop-ups at legitimate sites, causing users to go ahead and install whatever program the site says that the user needs to view the contents of the site. When you click Ok to proceed you have in fact invited the virus in through the front door. Your own anti-virus wonít necessarily object as it trusts you to know what you are downloading. Unfortunately one of the first things this piece of software will often do is disable your anti-virus and block any further updates that might be able to detect it.
STAYING AHEAD OF THE VIRUSES
Older technology anti-virus programs, which includes anything older than 1 or 2 years, are often unable to remove these new highly sophisticated viruses even if they are able to detect them via their virus definitions tables. In particular, some forms of corporate anti-virus programs will maintain virus definition tables for extended periods of time. This does not mean that the program has the smarts to remove newer viruses however, and you may need to upgrade to remain truly protected.
Newer anti-virus programs like the 2009 versions of AVG & Norton can provide safer Internet Searching and actually provide a rating of the site before you enter it. This can prevent you from falling into these web traps.
Other products can help supplement your virus protection and I will describe a couple of the better free ones below:
Spybot Search & Destroy is an Immunization and Removal Tool. It immunizes your computer by maintaining a table of known bad web-sites. It also provides a scanning and removal function for many common viruses. It is available at: www.safer-networking.org
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is a fairly new Scanning and Removal Tool that I have used to remove several of the newer viruses. It is available at: www.malwarebytes.org
But be careful, there are numerous very similar sounding program names that can in fact be viruses. Stick to one recommended by someone you trust. Many of the viral scam programs deliberately use names very similar to the better program names to deliberately fool users into installing them by mistake. In either case, the best defence when one of these programs pops-up is to immediately close Internet Explorer just to be safe.