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malware « ZolexPC Blog About Us - Remote Computer Support & Help | Zolex PC
13Sep/10Off

Email Viruses, Worms and Spam

Spreading of Viruses, Worms, Malware and Spam through email is one of the most effective means of infecting a PC.    Since everybody uses email it has become one of the easiest and most common ways to contract an infection for your PC.    Anything can be sent via email, whether it be a Virus, Worm, Malware or just plain old Spam.     Any title can be given to an email to trick a user into opening an attachment with the email or opening the email itself.     For example, the Subject could read Must see Pics of Brittney Spears, or Really Funny Video.   If the email was sent to you from a friend who you trust, you would probably be inclined to watch it.     What you may not know is that your friends PC has been infected with any number of infections that reside on the internet.    Sometimes it may just be a link to a website that is sent to you.   Clicking on this link can infect your computer.    Your friend may not even know that their PC is infected.

Many of these Worms, Viruses etc. can send out Blanket Emails to all of your contacts in your address book.  This is similar to what can happen on Facebook if you contract particular infections.  They will send out messages from You to all of your Facebook friends thereby spreading the virus all across Facebook and the Internet.    This allows viruses and malware to spread very quickly over the internet.   With new infections coming out everyday, your Antivirus protection may not even be aware of the latest infections for a few days.    You should always be careful of any email with an attachment or link sent to you even from a friend.    If you are not sure about it, do not take the chance.  You can always ask them about the email to make sure.   As I mentioned earlier, many times people do not realize their PC's security has been compromised and my be completely unaware that they are sending out these bogus emails.

Here is a recent news article about an email scam that did a lot of damage.   It mentions a free Adult site, but instead gives you a nasty virus.  This was spread through email.  Read the article here:

http://www1.whdh.com/news/articles/bizarre/12002207581227/site-promises-free-porn-delivers-virus/

This was so effective that it was actually able to infect many corporate networks.    The best way to protect yourself against these is do not click on the attachments or links within the email.    Viruses, Worms, and Malware will continue to be spread via email as it is extremely effective.

Spam is another topic associated with email.  While it is more of a nuisance and annoyance, it is designed with one thing in mind.  Getting you to click on something and purchase some fake product, medication, sexual enhancement and host of other things.    It is similar to junk mail but on a much larger scale.  Spam in heavy doses can take down a network due to the increased traffic coming into the Servers etc.   All email providers have some sort of Spam protection built in but there is plenty of Spam that still gets through.  Spam targets people's wallets and only requires a very small success rate to be profitable.  This why it will continue to be a problem for consumers.

A recent article from Spamfighter lists the United States as the biggest originator of Spam in the world.

http://www.spamfighter.com/News-15083-USA-Reported-As-Greatest-Originator-of-Spam.htm

While the US is the largest originator of Spam, China is largest country where this Spam is hosted.    With the hosting located in foreign countries, it makes it very difficult to crack down and prosecute Spammers.   The purpose of Spam is simply to trick the user into purchasing something.  It may also give out your email address to other Spam sites thereby increasing the amount of Spam you receive.    Spam is easily spread through email by Spam Bots.    A Spam Bot is a program (spider, bot, crawler) on the Internet that gathers e-mail addresses to send spam to. There are countless e-mail addresses on Web site "contact us" pages as well as on blogs and newsgroups. Since they are typically coded in the "mailto" format, which when clicked, causes the address to open an e-mail message window, they are easily located (see mailto:).

These Spam Bots do not sleep or take breaks and just work 24 hours a day sending out Spam to any email addresses it can find.    Be sure to empty your Spam folder and Junk folder on a regular basis.     Do not click on any of the Spam emails because you have no idea what could really be contained in it.  It could be a link to a virus, malware or a nasty worm.   When it comes to malicious software via email, play it safe and do not click on anything.  If you are suspicious do not click it.  Ask the sender about it.  If you do not know the sender, do not open it.  Just delete it and move on.   If it is legitimate then the sender can always resend it to you.

Email Viruses, Worms, Malware and Spam will continue to plague everyday users in an attempt to infect their PC's.  The best thing about these types of infections is they are pretty easy to stop and prevent.   Do not click on any attachments or links within the email.  If you are sure that it is from a legitimate source and the file is safe, then you are alright.   If you have any doubts at then do not take the chance.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.

Steve

www.zolexpc.com

23Aug/10Off

Viruses That Attack and Disable Antivirus Software

It is quite common to see infected PC's that have their antivirus software disabled by a virus.     The creators of viruses/malware are aware of many of the tools and software used to protect your PC against infections.  The creators of viruses/malware  can specifically write their virus to disable your Antivirus software and others.  Viruses can also disable programs or tools that you may use to remove the infections.     New variants and versions are released everyday on the internet thereby causing a delay as to when Antivirus software and other tools can be updated to combat the latest infections.    In some cases you may even have to do a manual removal of the infection in order to use some of your tools.

I had two customers this weekend, one was Windows 7 with Norton (updated subscription) and the other had AVG Free 9.0.    The Windows 7 machine only had a small infection but it did disable internet connectivity and kept Norton from updating.    The 2nd machine was Windows XP and had a very nasty rootkit on it.  AVG listed itself as running but no components were active or recognized.  The infection had completely disabled AVG.     Even after the infection was removed, AVG still needed to be reinstalled.   When your Antivirus software is disabled it is no longer doing it's job.   In this case once the shield is down, your computer is open and exposed to many other infections on the internet.

It is very easy for creators of viruses and malware to disable your Security Software.   The key is to try to protect yourself before the virus gets you.   What you can do is be wary of email attachments and keep your software updated (Windows, Java, Adobe Flash or other Adobe products, Antivirus & Antispyware, and other software).   These updates are released to fix bugs and exploits in the software and you need them up to date.    Be careful what sites you navigate to.  Watch out for suspicious videos or postings on Facebook and use complex passwords.  Remember if you are not sure don't Click it.

Once a virus is allowed in your system it can easily disable your protection and many other things.   This is why you should try to remove the infection as quickly as possible.  If you cannot do it on your own, then consult a professional.     The longer the infection(s) reside on your PC, the more damage they can do and the more doors they can open to other infections.    Some of these infections can be very nasty and result in data loss or data theft.

As the viruses get more and more advanced, the tools and security software will try to keep up with them but there will always be gaps.  You as the user must do your part in order to reduce your chances of becoming infected.     Viruses that can disable your Security Software can just as easily steal your passwords or other personal information.   It all depends on what the viruses goal is.    Watch for signs of infection and take care of it as quickly as possible.  If you do get an infection that you cannot remove, you can always count on ZolexPC to remove them for you.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.

Steve

www.zolexpc.com

22Jul/10Off

Common Virus Terms and What They Mean

Many people are not familiar with all the different kinds of infections/viruses that are out there.   I recently came across an article that defines these Invaders so you can know what you are up against.  The more information you have about what type of infection(s) your PC has makes it easier to diagnose and hopefully remove .   Similar to a doctor who wants all available knowledge of the disease or illness he is fighting, the more knowledge you have about what you are up against, the better chance you have to kill it.

http://www.protectionpower.ca/defining-the-computer-invaders.shtml

Steve

www.zolexpc.com

10Mar/10Off

File Sharing Sites And The Risks They Pose

File sharing sites can be notorious areas to pick up infections for your PC.     While File Sharing sites are useful in many ways they do have risks associated with them.   File sharing sites allow anyone to upload files, videos, data to a server.   These can then be download by people to their PC's.   So if you don't have a song you want you can find it and download it to your PC.  This allows people to share their files with others which is a great idea.   As usual all good ideas open up doors for people to take advantage of the situation.  The problem occurs because Virus makers and Infection spreaders can also upload whatever they want as well.   They  deceive people into thinking they are downloading a legitimate file such as popular song or popular video.  They can name their infection anything they want. When you think you are downloading the latest Lady GaGa song you might get a nasty infection that tries to collect your personal information instead.   You click on Poker Face and you may not be dancing the night away, but rather watching your PC go haywire as it gets devoured by a Worm.    If you click on one of these you can infect your machine within seconds.   It only takes one bad click to infect your PC.

The price you pay for the Free cost of the File Sharing sites is the Risk for getting infected.   Paid Music sites such as ITunes are perfectly safe.    Other negatives with some free File Sharing sites could be:    Adware that you may have to install on your PC to use their software.   These can be Ads that you are forced to watch or have running in the background while using the program.   Most of the programs may also use up your Internet Bandwidth if you are not using all of it.   This means that while you are surfing the Internet or watching an online video, the program can be slowing down your Internet connection by using those resources.   This can bog down your machine and is also most likely sending out information on what websites you surf.  This information is harvested in order to spam your email with useless garbage for just about anything.    People that make viruses and spyware  specifically put  infections on these sites under all sorts of different names in the hopes of spreading the infections too as many PC's as they can.    File sharing sites are an excellent and anonymous way to spread the infections.   There is no shortage of people using these sites and many do not have enough protection on their PC's.

If you use these sites, you need to be very careful when clicking on something to download.   Your Security can protect you against infections but many times by clicking on the infection, it will launch the virus.   The virus can target your Anti-virus software or other security programs to shut them down and give the infection a free pass through your system.    This of course leads to more infections and can become a serious problem.   The safest bet is to stay off of these sites.   Now no one is going to do that because they are free and very popular, but if you do use them, beware that you are putting your PC at an increased rate for infection.    Is the Free Music worth the risk?   Most people feel it is.   In this economy, who can blame them?   Just be careful out there if you use these sites.

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the week.

Steve

www.zolexpc.com

   

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