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What should I do if my computer is infected?

Computer-virus infections usually don't cause your machine to crash anymore.

Nowadays, the criminals behind the infections usually want your computer operating in top form so you don't know something's wrong. That way, they can log your keystrokes and steal any passwords or credit-card numbers you enter at Web sites, or they can link your infected computer with others to send out spam.

Here are some signs your computer is infected, tapped to serve as part of "botnet" armies run by criminals:

• You experience new, prolonged slowdowns. This can be a sign that a malicious program is running in the background.

• You continually get pop-up ads that you can't make go away. This is a sure sign you have "adware," and possibly more, on your machine.

• You're being directed to sites you didn't intend to visit, or your search results are coming back funky. This is another sign that hackers have gotten to your machine.

So what do you do?

• Having anti-virus software here is hugely helpful. For one, it can identify known malicious programs and disable them. If the virus that has infected your machine isn't detected, many anti-virus vendors offer a service in which they can remotely take over your computer and delete the malware for a fee.

• Some anti-virus vendors also offer free, online virus-scanning services.

• You may have to reinstall your operating system if your computer is still experiencing problems. It's a good idea even if you believe you've cleaned up the mess because malware can still be hidden on your machine. You will need to back up your files before you do this.

How do I know what information has been taken?

• It's very hard to tell what's been taken. Not every infection steals your data. Some just serve unwanted ads. Others poison your search result or steer you to Web sites you don't want to see. Others log your every keystroke. The anti-virus vendors have extensive databases about what the known infections do and don't do. Comparing the results from your virus scans to those entries will give you a good idea about what criminals may have snatched up.

 

based on contents of www.yahoo.com

 

|Date: 2009-03-17 visits: 2652| comments  0 Read more

Major flaw revealed in Internet Explorer; users urged to switch

The major press outlets are abuzz this morning with news of a major new security flaw that affects all versions of Internet Explorer from IE5 to the latest beta of IE8. The attack has serious and far-reaching ramifications -- and they're not just theoretical attacks. In fact, the flaw is already in wide use as a tool to steal online game passwords, with some 10,000 websites infected with the code needed to take advantage of the hole in IE.

Virtually all security experts (as well as myself) are counseling users to switch to any other web browser -- none of the others are affected, including Firefox, Chrome, and Opera -- at least for the time being, though Microsoft has stubbornly said it "cannot recommend people switch due to this one flaw." Microsoft adds that it is working on a fix but has offered no ETA on when that might happen. Meanwhile it offers some suggestions for a temporary patch, including setting your Internet security zone settings to "high" and offering some complicated workarounds. (Some reports state, however, that the fixes do not actually work.)

Expedient patching or switching are essential. Security pros fear that the attack will soon spread beyond the theft of gaming passwords and into more criminal arenas, as the malicious code can be placed on any website and can be adapted to steal any password stored or entered using the browser. It's now down to the issue of time: Will Microsoft repair the problem and distribute a patch quickly enough to head off the tsunami of fraud that's about to hit or will it come too late to do any good?

Meanwhile, our recommendation would be following: Switch from Internet Explorer as soon as you can. You can always switch back once the threat is eliminated.

Links for other browsers to try: Firefox Chrome Safari Opera

based on www.yahoo.com

 

|Date: 2008-12-16 visits: 3875| comments  0 Read more

Microsoft Outlook: 9 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do

E-mail can be such a chore some days, it's no wonder most of us don't play around with its settings or know half the tricks it can perform.

|Date: 2008-12-10 visits: 2602| comments  0 Read more