Tag Archives: content

What Does YouTube’s New Live Streaming Mean for You?

Guest author Ken Myers, takes us on a tour of YouTube’s live streaming service.

Since its creation, YouTube has generated a great deal of interest worldwide from the online community. It has been a place to promote music, acting styles, news broadcasts and more. Throughout 2013, the media powerhouse worked on implementing the ability to live stream events from a user’s account. But what does this mean for you and the YouTube community?

Further Promotional Tactics – There are many YouTube celebrities that relish in having more than half of a million subscribers watching their material. Although editing techniques are what add life and visual appeal at times, live streaming special events could drive the traffic to a channel exponentially. After all, live feeds have always been an attraction for various mediums, including traditional television.In the past, several events have been streamed live across the social media hub and were successful at engaging various viewers. Could this tactic help you promote your own business through the website?

Bloopers Galore – Some actors have a difficult time maintaining their focus on camera. It’s not often that a show can be performed live and not have a great deal of mistakes. Watching these events live could provide you with greater entertainment, though, especially if your favorite celebrities are struggling to keep it together. On the other hand, this is also how a family movie can turn into an R-rated episode. If you plan on capitalizing on the live feed, you need to bring your A-game.

Questionable Materials – Thanks to efforts by Google, you’re less likely to be able to produce material that is morally questionable without feeling some kind of repercussion. Although some people may try to take advantage of the live stream, it’s unlikely they’ll succeed at promoting this content. In order to provide a video for a live event, you need to have more than 1000 subscribers. This rule was implemented to ensure that you are serious about developing quality material for your viewers, making you less likely to take advantage of a live broadcast. If you can prove that you belong to a non-profit organization, you could begin streaming immediately.

Compared to Other Streaming Services – Many live streaming services on the Internet have been developed to allow virtually anyone with a webcam to promote themselves. Unlike YouTube, these services often don’t have any requirements past the basic illegal and adult contracts you must agree to before using the service. Without having a single follower or subscriber, anyone is able to get on these systems and talk about anything. If you’ve ever been to one of these websites, you understand how the quality of the material is lacking. YouTube live streams, on the other hand, require you to have a sense of professionalism and to provide quality material.

Engaging Your Subscribers – In order to grow a subscriber base, your material has to engaging. However, you have to begin producing videos to find out if people will find your content worthy of watching. To keep and increase your subscribers, you can further interact with them by developing a live stream and responding to questions on your Twitter account. This can increase both your viewership and your Twitter activity in a profound way. Of course, it helps to have a level of popularity before committing to a live broadcast of your show.

Future Content – Although some YouTube celebrities may see the value in live streaming their broadcasts, many may still opt out of using those services. For instance, if you produce material that is effects driven, it’s far more difficult to provide the same level of entertainment value. Talk shows and gaming channels are more likely to take advantage of providing a live feed because of the nature of their content. Many popular YouTube shows are unedited as it is, so little would change in the way of creating a live stream or a regular upload for these people.

For many, live streaming content may be nothing more than a pipe-dream. It takes a serious minded individual to develop content that is entertaining enough to draw in the necessary number of subscribers needed. For the rest of us, though, it may be an entertaining way to see our favorite YouTube celebrities sans the editing.

Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.

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Filed under Freeware, Google, Interconnectivity, Multimedia Tools, Video Tools, YouTube

Tom Sanders SEO – A Bottom Feeding Specialist

imageOver the last 60 days or so, comment spam here has taken a huge jump. Not a big deal you might suppose – after all, with one or two clicks the damn stuff can be deleted. With 400 or more spam comments every day, I find that deletion is the only sane solution. Taking as little as 10 seconds to peruse each spam comment, would add roughly one hour of unproductive activity to an already full day.

So, the solution to this aggravation is simple enough (or, so it seems) – but, the downside to hitting the “Empty Spam” button is an increased risk of seemingly ignoring a reader’s comment which has been spam trapped. In terms of “blogging sins” – ignoring a reader’s comment, ranks well up on the list of grievous offenses.

The screen capture shown below (taken from my blog’s Dashboard several weeks ago), shows 259 spam comments awaiting moderation.

image

I have little doubt, that trapped within these fake comments (such as the one shown below), were bona fide readers’ comments which (as they normally do), would have expanded the scope of the relevant article. The power of reader comments to enhance, and round out an article, is a key feature of blogging in my estimation.

image

Which brings me to Tom Sanders (if that’s his real name). Tom is in the business of pissing people off. Tom, like so many of his competitors in the search engine optimization (SEO) business, is an unethical twit – a parasitic ignoramus who is content to feed off, and potentially damage, the works of others.

Sanders, and others like him, ignore the impact their SEO schemes (as illustrated in the following email dated October 13), are likely to have on web content providers. Slimy, sleazy practices, such as this, inevitably lead to an onslaught of spam email which the content provider is then forced to deal with.

Tom Sanders tom193@seo-service.com to me (show details 6:32 AM (47 minutes ago)

Hi,

My name is Tom and I am a link builder. I sell blog comment links for website owners at low price.

Blog comment links can help you in a number of ways. Here are three major advantages:

– Increase link and IP popularity
– Direct traffic to your site
– Higher rankings in search engines

I can do thousands of blog comment links for your site in a couple of days, and they get indexed very fast. If you would like more details about my offer, or would like to ask me anything you’d like regarding this matter, then feel free to reply with a YES.

Best regards,
Tom

Normally, I wouldn’t bother writing an article on what might be perceived to be a “so what” internal issue. Except, my good buddy Michael F., questioned me this morning as to whether I was knowingly rejecting his comments. Which, immediately raised the question – “how many other readers have encountered the same ‘rejection’ issue?”

If you have commented here, and then failed to receive an acknowledgement from me, please accept my apology. Tom Sanders (in reality, just another cyber criminal), and his leech-like SEO industry operatives, have created a bottleneck in the free flow of reader comments. Another obstacle to overcome – created by the marginal morons who slither through the Internet.

Just a passing note – There are bloggers (known to me), who regularly post “edited” spam comments passed off as legitimate comments. Sleeping with the enemy just about covers that. You (and you know who you are), need to give your head a shake.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

15 Comments

Filed under blogging, Comment Spam, Cyber Crime, Cyber Criminals, Opinion, Point of View, SEO, spam

How Safe Are Trusted Web Sites? Not Very!

image Just as you don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus, you shouldn’t believe that legitimate and popular web sites, are always free of damaging content.

You know that the creatures mentioned above are comfortable myths. Just as the belief that popular web sites are always malware free is also a myth – a dangerous myth.

According to a recently released report from Websense Security Labs, 61 of the top 100 Internet web sites contain malicious content, and if that content doesn’t get you, these sites are capable of redirecting you to malicious sites.

Moreover, Websense went on to state that the number of malicious sites has grown by 233 % in the last 6 months alone. Worse still, malicious site growth has exceeded 600% in the last year.

I’ve noticed in the last week alone, that Wal- Mart’s community site and a popular song lyrics Web site Songlyrics.com, have both been attacked.  A visitor to the song lyrics Web site with the Java Plug-in for Browsers installed (Internet Explorer or Firefox) will get infected by a malware drive by download.

If you’re curious as to how this is accomplished, the following from my earlier article “Malware by Proxy – Fake Search Engine Results”, explains it briefly –

“Cyber-crooks can exploit vulnerabilities on the server hosting the web page to insert an iFrame, (an HTML element which makes it possible to embed another HTML document inside the main document). The iFrame can then activate the download of malicious code by exploiting additional vulnerabilities on the visiting machine”.

image

Selected Stats from the Websense report:

77 percent of Web sites with malicious code are legitimate sites that have been compromised.

95 percent of comments to Blogs, chat rooms and message boards are spam or malicious. A personal example on this Blog – of the 46,575 comments received in the last 12 months, 41,943 were malicious or spam comments.

57 percent of data-stealing attacks are conducted over the Web.

85 percent of all unwanted emails in circulation contained links to spam sites and/or malicious Web sites.

69 percent of Web pages with content which many people classify as objectionable – Sex, Adult, Gambling, Drugs – had at least one malicious link.

37 percent of malicious Web attacks included data-stealing code, demonstrating that attackers are after essential information and data.

The following security advice bears repeating:

To maximize your Internet safety and security, it’s important that you run with a browser security add-on.

The following are browser security add-ons that are noted for their effectiveness, although it is important to recognize cyber-criminals are crafty, and there is no one perfect solution.

Web of Trust (WOT)WOT is a free Internet Browser add-on (my personal favorite), that has established an impressive and well deserved reputation. WOT tests web sites you are visiting for spyware, spam, viruses, browser exploits, unreliable online shops, phishing, and online scams, helping you avoid unsafe web sites.

McAfee SiteAdvisorA free browser add-on that adds small site rating icons to your search results as well as a browser button and optional search box. Together, these alert you to potentially risky sites and help you find safer alternatives. These site ratings are based on tests conducted by McAfee using an army of computers that look for all kinds of threats.

Finjan SecureBrowsing Finjan SecureBrowsing searches major websites as well as search results for malicious content hiding behind links. By accessing and scanning destination URLs in real time, the add-on proactively warns you when a link is potentially dangerous.

ThreatExpert Browser DefenderThe Browser Defender toolbar allows you to surf safely by displaying site ratings as you browse the Internet. When you visit a site its address will be checked by our servers and a rating shown in the toolbar based on any malicious behavior or threats we have found associated with the site. The toolbar also integrates with the search results provided by popular search engines such as Google and Yahoo! so you can see if, in our view, it is safe to continue before you visit a site.

AVG Security Toolbar Free Edition AVG’s unique Search-Shield, available with the AVG Security Toolbar Free Edition, marks all web pages which are infected by zero day exploits and drive-by downloads. This powerful LinkScanner based technology works in real-time to provide comprehensive protection. Other programs rely on static databases and cannot protect you at the only time that matters – the time you click on a link.

TrendProtect TrendProtect is a free browser plug-in that helps you avoid Web pages with unwanted content and hidden threats. TrendProtect rates the current page and pages listed in Google, MSN, and Yahoo search results. You can use the rating to decide if you want to visit or avoid a given Web page. To rate Web pages, TrendProtect refers to an extensive database that covers billions of Web pages.

Additional ways to mitigate your risks while surfing the Internet:

Consider running your web browser in a sandboxed environment. Read “Sandboxie – A Freeware Sandbox App – Protect Your PC on the Internet”, for additional information.

Consider running your system in a virtual environment such as Returnil Virtual System Personal Edition.

Consider running your browser with the free GesWall intrusion prevention system.

Install the latest operating system updates, and patches, on your computer. This step is just common sense in all circumstances. Unpatched systems will be attacked!

Ensure you are using the latest version of your Internet Browser – known security holes in older Browser versions will be exploited!

Consider switching your Browser – experienced computer users tend to use FireFox as their principal Internet Browser, since the security add-ons which are available, offer substantial protection from exploits. No Browser however, is totally secure against exploits.

Turn off JavaScript in your Browser.

Install effective ant-malware solutions on your computer.

For additional information on protecting your computer, check out “The Best Free Spyware, Virus, and Browser Protection”, on this site.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

9 Comments

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Browser add-ons, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Freeware, Internet Safety, Internet Safety Tools, Software

Trusted Web Sites – An Oxymoron?

image Just as you don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus, you shouldn’t believe that legitimate and popular web sites, are always free of damaging content.

You know that the creatures mentioned above are comfortable myths. Just as the belief that popular web sites are always malware free is also a myth – a dangerous myth.

According to a newly released report from Websense Security Labs, 61 of the top 100 Internet web sites contain malicious content, and if that content doesn’t get you, these sites are capable of redirecting you to malicious sites.

Moreover, Websense went on to state that the number of malicious sites has grown by 233 % in the last 6 months alone. Worse still, malicious site growth has exceeded 600% in the last year.

If you’re curious as to how this is accomplished, the following from my earlier article “Malware by Proxy – Fake Search Engine Results”, explains it briefly –

“Cyber-crooks can exploit vulnerabilities on the server hosting the web page to insert an iFrame, (an HTML element which makes it possible to embed another HTML document inside the main document). The iFrame can then activate the download of malicious code by exploiting additional vulnerabilities on the visiting machine”.

image

Selected Stats from the Websense report:

77 percent of Web sites with malicious code are legitimate sites that have been compromised.

95 percent of comments to Blogs, chat rooms and message boards are spam or malicious. A personal example on this Blog – of the 46,575 comments received in the last 12 months, 41,943 were malicious or spam comments.

57 percent of data-stealing attacks are conducted over the Web.

85 percent of all unwanted emails in circulation contained links to spam sites and/or malicious Web sites.

69 percent of Web pages with content which many people classify as objectionable – Sex, Adult, Gambling, Drugs – had at least one malicious link.

37 percent of malicious Web attacks included data-stealing code, demonstrating that attackers are after essential information and data.

The following security advice bears repeating:

To maximize your Internet safety and security, it’s important that you run with a browser security add-on.

The following are browser security add-ons that are noted for their effectiveness, although it is important to recognize cyber-criminals are crafty, and there is no one perfect solution.

Web of Trust (WOT)WOT is a free Internet Browser add-on (my personal favorite), that has established an impressive and well deserved reputation. WOT tests web sites you are visiting for spyware, spam, viruses, browser exploits, unreliable online shops, phishing, and online scams, helping you avoid unsafe web sites.

McAfee SiteAdvisorA free browser add-on that adds small site rating icons to your search results as well as a browser button and optional search box. Together, these alert you to potentially risky sites and help you find safer alternatives. These site ratings are based on tests conducted by McAfee using an army of computers that look for all kinds of threats.

Finjan SecureBrowsing Finjan SecureBrowsing searches major websites as well as search results for malicious content hiding behind links. By accessing and scanning destination URLs in real time, the add-on proactively warns you when a link is potentially dangerous.

ThreatExpert Browser DefenderThe Browser Defender toolbar allows you to surf safely by displaying site ratings as you browse the Internet. When you visit a site its address will be checked by our servers and a rating shown in the toolbar based on any malicious behavior or threats we have found associated with the site. The toolbar also integrates with the search results provided by popular search engines such as Google and Yahoo! so you can see if, in our view, it is safe to continue before you visit a site.

AVG Security Toolbar Free Edition AVG’s unique Search-Shield, available with the AVG Security Toolbar Free Edition, marks all web pages which are infected by zero day exploits and drive-by downloads. This powerful LinkScanner based technology works in real-time to provide comprehensive protection. Other programs rely on static databases and cannot protect you at the only time that matters – the time you click on a link.

TrendProtect TrendProtect is a free browser plug-in that helps you avoid Web pages with unwanted content and hidden threats. TrendProtect rates the current page and pages listed in Google, MSN, and Yahoo search results. You can use the rating to decide if you want to visit or avoid a given Web page. To rate Web pages, TrendProtect refers to an extensive database that covers billions of Web pages.

Additional ways to mitigate your risks while surfing the Internet:

Consider running your web browser in a sandboxed environment. Read “Sandboxie – A Freeware Sandbox App – Protect Your PC on the Internet”, for additional information.

Consider running your system in a virtual environment such as Returnil Virtual System Personal Edition.

Consider running your browser with the free GesWall intrusion prevention system.

Install the latest operating system updates, and patches, on your computer. This step is just common sense in all circumstances. Unpatched systems will be attacked!

Ensure you are using the latest version of your Internet Browser – known security holes in older Browser versions will be exploited!

Consider switching your Browser – experienced computer users tend to use FireFox as their principal Internet Browser, since the security add-ons which are available, offer substantial protection from exploits. No Browser however, is totally secure against exploits.

Turn off JavaScript in your Browser.

Install effective ant-malware solutions on your computer.

For additional information on protecting your computer, check out “The Best Free Spyware, Virus, and Browser Protection”, on this site.

To checkout the entire report, go to the Websense Security Labs site.

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

1 Comment

Filed under Browser add-ons, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Email, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Internet Explorer Add-ons, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Advisories, Online Safety, Software, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools, WOT (Web of Trust)

How Risky is Peer to Peer (P2P) File Sharing?

image Albert Einstein has been quoted as stating “Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing”.

Nowhere, in my computing experience, has this been more true than in the type of peer-to-peer file sharing where users consider themselves to have scored a coup after having downloaded the latest movie, the latest video game, or the latest music CD, ostensibly for nothing.

The number of times I have been called upon to rescue a friend’s computer because of system damage caused by peer-to-peer downloading, has convinced me to give this form of file sharing, on public file-sharing networks, an automatic “thumbs down”.

Used legitimately of course, peer-to-peer file sharing can provide computer users with access to a wealth of information.

All that’s required to participate in Peer to Peer file sharing is the installation of the necessary file sharing software such as LimeWire, FrostWire, or Ares, that connects your computer to an informal network of other computers running file sharing software.

Millions of users could be connected to each other through this type of software at any one time. File sharing applications are often free, and easily accessible as a download on the Internet.

Risk factors

Privacy: When you are connected to file-sharing programs, you may unintentionally allow others to copy confidential files you did not intend to share. So be sure to setup the file-sharing software very carefully.

If you don’t check the proper settings when you install the software, you could allow access not just to the files you intend to share, but also to other information on your hard drive. Information such as your tax returns, email messages, medical records, photos, and other personal and financial documents.

It’s extremely important to be aware of the files that you place in, or download to, your shared folder. Don’t put information in your shared folder that you don’t want to share with others. Your shared folder is the folder that is shared automatically with others on peer to peer file sharing networks.

Copyright Issues: You may knowingly, or otherwise, download material that is protected by copyright laws and find yourself caught up in legal issues. Can this really happen? You bet.

Copyright infringement can result in significant monetary damages, fines, and even criminal penalties. Some statistics suggest as many as 70% of young people between the ages of 9 – 17, regularly download copyrighted digital music. If you are a parent, you bear the ultimate responsibility for this illegal activity.

Adult Content: Again, if you are a parent you may not be aware that your children have downloaded file-sharing software on the family computer, and that they may have exchanged games, videos, music, pornography, or other material that may be unsuitable for them. It’s not unusual for other peoples’ files to be mislabeled, and you, or your children, can unintentionally download these files.

Elsewhere in this Blog you can read an article on child safety on the Internet, and download a free parental control program that comes highly recommended.

Go to: Free Internet Child Protection – Parental Control Bar.

Spyware: There’s a good chance that the file-sharing program you’re using has installed other software known as spyware to your computer’s operating system. Spyware monitors a user’s browsing habits and then sends that data to third parties.

Frequently the user gets ads based on the information that the spyware has collected and forwarded to these third parties. I can assure you that spyware can often be difficult to detect and remove.

Before you use any file-sharing program, you should buy, or download, free software that can help prevent the downloading or installation of spyware, or help to detect it on your hard drive if it has been installed.

Elsewhere on this Blog you can read an article on free anti-malware programs, including anti-virus software, and you can download those that may suit your needs.

Go to: Free Windows Software You Can’t Afford Not to Have!

Viruses: Use and update your anti-virus software regularly. Files you download could be mislabeled, hiding a virus or other unwanted content. Use anti-virus software to protect your computer from viruses you might pick up from other users through the file-sharing program.

Generally, your virus filter should prevent your computer from receiving possibly destructive files. While downloading, you should avoid files with extensions such as .exe, .scr, .lnk, .bat, .vbs, .dll, .bin, and .cmd.

Default Closing Behavior: It is critical that you close your connection after you have finished using the software. In some instances, closing the file-sharing program window does not actually close your connection to the network. That allows file-sharing to continue and will increase your security risk. Be sure to turn off this feature in the programs “preferences” setting.

What’s more, some file-sharing programs automatically run every time you turn on your computer. As a preventive measure, you should adjust the file-sharing program’s controls to prevent the file-sharing program from automatically starting.

For more on the potential dangers involved in peer to peer file sharing, check out the FBI’s web site.

If you decide peer to peer file sharing is for you, the following free applications are spyware free when downloaded from reputable download sites such as Download.com, or Sourceforge.net.

LimeWire: Download at Download.com

Ares: Download at Sourceforge.net

FrostWire: Download at Download.com

19 Comments

Filed under Application Vulnerabilities, Don't Get Hacked, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety for Children, Malware Advisories, Online Safety, Parenting Help, Peer to Peer, Privacy, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools

Peer to Peer (P2P) File Sharing – Risks You Need to Know!

Every day, millions of computer users share files online. Whether it is music, games, or software, file-sharing can provide computer users with access to a wealth of information.

All that’s required to participate in Peer to Peer file sharing is the installation of the necessary file sharing software such as LimeWire, FrostWire, or Ares, that connects your computer to an informal network of other computers running file sharing software.

Millions of users could be connected to each other through this type of software at any one time. File sharing applications are often free, and easily accessible as a download on the Internet.

Sounds promising, right? Maybe; but make sure that you consider the trade-offs and the very real risks involved. The number of times I have been called upon to rescue a friend’s computer because of system damage caused by peer to peer downloading, has convinced me to give this form of file sharing, on public file-sharing networks, an automatic “thumbs down”.

Risk factors

Privacy: When you are connected to file-sharing programs, you may unintentionally allow others to copy confidential files you did not intend to share. So be sure to setup the file-sharing software very carefully. If you don’t check the proper settings when you install the software, you could allow access not just to the files you intend to share, but also to other information on your hard drive. Information such as your tax returns, email messages, medical records, photos, and other personal and financial documents.

It’s extremely important to be aware of the files that you place in, or download to, your shared folder. Don’t put information in your shared folder that you don’t want to share with others. Your shared folder is the folder that is shared automatically with others on peer to peer file sharing networks.

Copyright Issues: You may knowingly, or otherwise, download material that is protected by copyright laws and find yourself caught up in legal issues. Can this really happen? You bet.

Copyright infringement can result in significant monetary damages, fines, and even criminal penalties. Some statistics suggest as many as 70% of young people between the ages of 9 – 14, regularly download copyrighted digital music. I f you are a parent, you bear the ultimate responsibility for this illegal activity.

Adult Content: Again, if you are a parent you may not be aware that their children have downloaded file-sharing software on the family computer, and that they may have exchanged games, videos, music, pornography, or other material that may be unsuitable for them. It’s not unusual for other peoples’ files to be mislabeled, and you or your children, can unintentionally download these files.

Elsewhere in this Blog you can read an article on child safety on the Internet, and download a free parental control program that comes highly recommended.

Go to: Free Internet Child Protection – Parental Control Bar.

Spyware: There’s a good chance that the file-sharing program you’re using has installed other software known as spyware to your computer’s operating system. Spyware monitors a user’s browsing habits and then sends that data to third parties. Frequently the user gets ads based on the information that the spyware has collected and forwarded to these third parties. I can assure you that spyware can be difficult to detect and remove.

Before you use any file-sharing program, you should buy, or download free software, that can help prevent the downloading or installation of spyware, or help to detect it on your hard drive if it has been installed.

Elsewhere on this Blog you can read an article on free anti-malware programs, including anti-virus software, and you can download those that may suit your needs.

Go to: Free Windows Software You Can’t Afford Not to Have!

Viruses: Use and update your anti-virus software regularly. Files you download could be mislabeled, hiding a virus or other unwanted content. Use anti-virus software to protect your computer from viruses you might pick up from other users through the file-sharing program. Generally, your virus filter should prevent your computer from receiving possibly destructive files. While downloading, you should avoid files with extensions such as .exe, .scr, .lnk, .bat, .vbs, .dll, .bin, and .cmd.

Default Closing Behavior: It is critical that you close your connection after you have finished using the software. In some instances, closing the file-sharing program window does not actually close your connection to the network. That allows file-sharing to continue and will increase your security risk. Be sure to turn off this feature in the programs “preferences” setting. What’s more, some file-sharing programs automatically run every time you turn on your computer. As a preventive measure, you should adjust the file-sharing program’s controls to prevent the file-sharing program from automatically starting.

For more on the potential dangers involved in peer to peer file sharing, check out the FBI’s web site.

If you decide peer to peer file sharing is for you, the following free applications are spyware free when downloaded from reputable download sites such as Download.com, or Sourceforge.net.

LimeWire: Download at Download.com

Ares: Download at Sourceforge.net

FrostWire: Download at Download.com

7 Comments

Filed under Free Security Programs, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety, Internet Safety for Children, Internet Safety Tools, Malware Advisories, Online Safety, Parenting Help, Peer to Peer, Privacy, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Security, trojans, Viruses, Windows Tips and Tools

PLAY_MP3.exe – Media File Trojan!

Every day, millions of computer users share files online. Whether it is music, games, or software, file-sharing, used safely, can provide computer users with access to a wealth of computer resources.

All that’s required to participate in Peer to Peer file sharing is the installation of the necessary file sharing software that connects a computer to an informal network of other computers running file sharing software. Millions of users could be connected to each other through this type of application at one time. File sharing applications are often free, and easily accessible as a download on the Internet.

Sounds promising, right? Maybe, but make sure that you consider the trade-offs and the very real risks involved. The number of times I have been called upon to rescue a friend’s computer because of system damage caused by Peer to Peer downloading, has convinced me to give this form of file sharing an automatic “thumbs down”.

In the last few days a new computer Trojan disguised as a media file has been described by security provider McAfee Inc. as the most significant malware outbreak in three years. Consistent with this, users of McAfee’s VirusScan Online have reported over 360,000 detections of this new threat

According to McAfee’s Craig Schmugar, “This is one of the most prevalent pieces of malware in the last three years. We have never before had a threat this significant that arrives as a media file.”

The media clip the user thinks has been downloaded isn’t actually present; instead they’re directed to download a file named PLAY_MP3.exe. Enticed to download this file, the user begins the process of infecting their computer with adware.

As Schmugar described it, the user is “left with a fake MP3 file taking up space, a worthless MP3 player, adware that claims not only to not display pop-ups but also to block them, and more adware that successfully displays pop-up and pop-under ads.”

It’s obvious then that Peer to Peer file sharing has inherent risks attached to it. Other issues you need to be aware of if you participate in Peer to Peer file sharing include:

  • Privacy: When you are connected to file-sharing programs, you may unintentionally allow others to copy confidential files you did not intend to share.
  • Copyright Issues: You may knowingly, or otherwise, download material that is protected by copyright laws and find yourself caught up in legal issues.
  • Adult Content: If you are a parent you may not be aware that your children have downloaded file-sharing software on the family computer, and that they may have exchanged games, videos, music, pornography, or other material that may be unsuitable for them.
  • Spyware: There’s a high risk that the file-sharing program you’re using has installed other software known as spyware to your computer’s operating system.
  • Viruses: Files you download could be mislabeled, hiding a virus or other unwanted content.
  • Default Closing Behavior: It is critical that you close your connection after you have finished using the software. In some instances, closing the file-sharing program window does not actually close your connection to the network. That allows file-sharing to continue and will increase your security risk.

I am not an advocate of Peer to Peer MP3 file sharing; however if you insist that this type of file sharing is still for you despite the risks, there are free tools available for download on the Internet that purport to detect fake MP3 downloads.

6 Comments

Filed under Internet Safety, Internet Safety for Children, Malware Advisories, Online Safety, Peer to Peer, Privacy, Safe Surfing, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Security, Uncategorized, Windows Tips and Tools