Being unaware can cause havoc on your computer.
Paradoxically, it’s because current anti-malware solutions are much more effective than they have ever been in detecting worms and viruses, that we’re now faced with another insidious form of attack.
Drive-by downloads are not new; they’ve been lurking around for years it seems, but they’ve become much more common and more crafty recently. The latest twist on this is the so called “pop-up download”.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, “drive-by download”, they are essentially programs that are automatically downloaded and installed on your computer without your knowledge. This action can occur while visiting an infected web site, opening an infected HTML email, or by clicking on the newest threat, a deceptive popup window – the so called “pop-up download”.
For example, when visiting a site, a user might receive a pop-up box that appears as an offer to download an application. The user is then asked to accept the download despite the fact no application name is offered.
Unfortunately, a typical computer user is generally undereducated in the Internet safety issues that apply in this type of scenario. Clicking “yes”, will lead to the automatic installation of an application – in many cases, an unknown application.
Often, more than one program is downloaded. For example, file sharing with tracking spyware is very common. Again, it’s important to remember that this can take place without warning, or your approval.
Apparently, there are now some legitimate application developers who are using this “pop-up download” method to distribute, or advertise their product. Just last night, I had an advertising popup appear on my screen from PC Tools ThreatFire, something that has not happened in the 2 years I have been using this application. Needless to say I was shocked, offended and extremely annoyed.
Additional steps you can take to ensure you are protected, or to reduce the chances you will become a victim?
The following are actions (familiar to regular readers of this site), that you can take to protect your computer system:
- When surfing the web – Stop. Think. Click
- Don’t open unknown email attachments
- Don’t run programs of unknown origin
- Disable hidden filename extensions
- Keep all applications (including your operating system) patched
- Turn off your computer or disconnect from the network when not in use
- Disable scripting features in email programs
- Make regular backups of critical data
- Make a boot disk in case your computer is damaged or compromised
- Turn off file and printer sharing on your computer.
- Install a personal firewall on your computer.
- Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software and ensure it is configured to automatically update when you are connected to the Internet
- Ensure the anti-virus software scans all email attachments
Be proactive when it comes to your computer’s security; make sure you have adequate software based protection to reduce the chances that your machine will become infected.
I recommend that you ensure that the current anti- malware applications, which you depend on to protect your system, are up to the task by reading “The 35 Best Free Applications” on this site.
If you missed “Rogue Security Software on the Rise – What You Need to Know Now!”, you can read it on this site.