Welcome To My Blog!

I'd like to first say "hello" to everyone. I must lay down a single rule, and it's commonly known by many as the Golden Rule. Please treat everyone in here as you would want to be treated. I ask that no one "flames" anyone else, or say anything obscene or rude. This is a friendly discussions blog that pertains mostly to computers, music, politics, and religion, but not restricted to just these topics.

If you're looking for some computer help, then I highly recommend by starting with my first part in my series:
Computer Advice Part 1 of 9 - Hardware Terms

I also have a website I'd love for anyone to visit at http://webpages.charter.net/drkstlkr/

If you know someone who might enjoy this blog, then please send them an e-mail!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Fake AntiViruses

Please e-mail this blog to as many people as possible!!!

Blog Link: http://junkmail3612.blogspot.com/2010/01/fake-antiviruses.html

Rogue Security Software
There has been an epidemic of a fake antivirus software programs (called rogue security software) known as Security Tool, and its many variants, such as Total Security 2009 and System Security.  Most of these will display a blue shield with a white stripe near your clock in the bottom-right corner of your screen.  Also, similar rogue software programs, such as Antivirus System PRO and Antivirus Live, may display a green shield, instead.

However, what they all have in common is to scare the user into thinking that they have several malware infections (viruses, Trojans, adware, spyware, etc.) running on their computer, and the only way to remove them is to buy their "protection software program".  THIS IS A SCAM!!!  These are NOT legitimate antivirus software programs!!!  DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR DEBIT/CREDIT CARD NUMBER!!!

Most people get infected with these fake anti-viruses by browsing many different websites, including Facebook and MySpace.  You will often get a pop-up window stating that your computer is infected, and asks if you would like to remove these false infections you have.  You may even have what appears to be a scan running within your internet web browser.  DO NOT CLICK ON ANY BUTTONS!!!  Even if you click on "Cancel" or "No", these fake anti-viruses will still install themselves on your computer, and often along with a real Trojan virus!  The only way to avoid accidentally installing one of these fake anti-viruses is to immediately close your internet web browser by pressing ALT+F4 keys (hold down the ALT key on your keyboard, tap the F4 key, and then let go of the ALT key).  Think of it as holding down the SHIFT key to type a CAPITALIZED LETTER.

Once installed, these fake anti-viruses may be VERY difficult to remove, since they often block most attempts to run scans with your legitimate protection software programs (they often state that everything you try to run is infected).

Wikipedia References:

The best way to keep from getting infected is to run good protection software programs with very high detection rates and a real-time scanner (continuously runs in the background while your computer is on).  Just remember, what's "popular" isn't always what's best, contrary to popular belief.  All one has to do is Google Search "antivirus detection rate 2009" will give you results of thoroughly tested anti-viruses.  Although the results may slightly vary from one website to another, you may see many of the unaffiliated websites (non-biased) will give very similar test results.  Basically, here's what I've found out after browsing through several of them:

Recommended Commercial (Paid-For) AntiVirus Software Programs:
  • BitDefender at http://www.bitdefender.com/ - Has one of the highest detection rates of the commercial anti-viruses, but most stores don't sell it, thus you may have to order it online.
  • G-Data AntiVirus at http://www.gdata-software.com/ - Has one of the highest detection rates since it uses two antivirus engines (both Avast! and BitDefender) instead of just one.  However, it likes to ask way too many questions, and you could unknowingly block yourself from using the internet or accidentally allow a virus to leak through.  Only recommended for advanced computer users!
  • Kaspersky at http://www.kaspersky.com/ - Often competes with BitDefender for having very high detection rates.  However, like G-Data AntiVirus, Kaspersky likes to ask a lot of questions as you run different software programs, and you could unknowingly block yourself from using the internet or accidentally allow a virus to leak through.  Only recommended for advanced computer users!
  • Webroot AntiVirus at http://www.webroot.com/ - Although its antivirus isn't quite as good as BitDefender or Kaspersky, its anti-adware and anti-spyware detection makes-up for it.  Most people get infected with adware and spyware first before getting infected with a virus.  Many adware and spyware programs install viruses after the fact.  Also, it's very effective without requiring a lot of user intervention.  In other words, it's computer novice friendly!
Recommended Free AntiVirus Software Programs:
  • Avira AntiVir Personal at http://www.avira.com/ - Has the highest detection rate of almost any free antivirus out there, even better than most commercial anti-viruses.  However, the free version doesn't detect spyware.  It's a good idea to run a separate antispyware software program along with AntiVir Personal.
  • Avast! AntiVirus Home Edition at http://www.avast.com/ - Although it's virus detection rate is slightly less than that of Avira AntiVir Personal, however it does have antispyware detection.
Recommended Free Anti-Malware (Anti-Adware/Anti-Spyware) Software Programs:
  • a-squared Free at http://www.emsisoft.com/ - Doesn't offer real-time protection, but detects a wide variety of malware.  It's good to manually scan with once a week, and recommended for everyone.
  • Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware Free Version at http://www.malwarebytes.org/ - Has one of the best detection rates of its type, but like a-squared Free, it doesn't offer real-time protection.  Once again, it's good to manually scan with once a week, and recommended for everyone.
  • PCTool's Spyware Doctor SE (Starter Edition) at http://www.pctools.com/ - Has real-time protection, but you must install it along with the Google Pack at http://pack.google.com/ to get it.  I highly recommend using it if you decide to use Avira AntiVir Personal as your antivirus to also give you real-time spyware protection.  Otherwise, I wouldn't use it if your protection software program already offers adware and spyware protection.
  • Spybot - Search & Destroy at http://www.safer-networking.org/ - Although not as effective as it once was back in the 1990's, it's still not a bad idea to install and run this occasionally to make sure all is clean.  It'll occasionally find something, but not often enough.  Just be sure to turn off it's real-time system scanner during installation.
  • SpywareBlaster at http://www.javacoolsoftware.com/ - This doesn't remove malware, but helps prevent you from accidentally installing it.  I recommend it for everyone, even if you have good protection software.  The free version doesn't auto-update, so be sure to manually update it every week and also to "Enable All Protection"!
NOT Recommended Protection Software Programs
Why isn't McAfee or Norton listed?  What about other free protection software programs such as AVG or Lavasoft's Ad-Aware?  Remember, what's popular isn't what's always best. The detection rates of AVG, McAfee, or Norton isn't nearly as high as the other anti-viruses I've listed above.  "Well, I've been using _________ for _____ years, and I've never been infected!"  Ignore people who make these ridiculous comments.  Do we all receive the same e-mails?  Do we all visit the same websites?  Do we all download the same files from the same places on the internet?  Of course not!  So, whether you're paying for protection software or using free protection software, then why not use the best of the best?  Also, I once recommended using Lavasoft's Ad-Aware, however, it's detection rates are very low, they don't update often, and they often want to install a real-time scanner that isn't very effective.  When it comes to computers, the more you have running in the background, the slower your computer will run.  Of course, some of these real-time scanners can be turned-off.

Multiple AntiViruses
If you decide to try a different antivirus software program than what you're already running, always remember to uninstall (remove) your current antivirus because they won't play well with each other!  Any protection software program that has an antivirus will conflict with another program that also has an antivirus!  Even if the antivirus is an expired trial, it will still continue to run in the background (it just won't update)!  Running expired protection software is much like driving a car with a flat tire, or trying to run with a broken leg.  Your protection software is only as good as how recently it's been updated, thus how well it detects new computer infections.  Always be sure that your protection software updates daily, and that it runs a full scan weekly.  Always update it first before running a manual scan.

3rd-Party Firewalls
Many of the listed protection software programs may offer an "Internet Security Suite", which usually comes with its own firewall.  I DON'T RECOMMEND USING A 3RD PARTY FIREWALL!!!  Most firewalls create more problems instead of preventing them.  Also, if you're running WinXP SP2 (Microsoft Windows XP with Service Pack 2) or newer (WinXP SP3, Windows Vista, or Windows 7), then you already have a very effective firewall.  I only recommend installing a firewall if you're still running Windows 95, 98, ME, or 2000.  If you are using Windows XP, be sure to update it to Service Pack 2 or 3, and is free from Microsoft at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/.

How Much Trouble Is It Worth?
Does all of this sound like a lot of trouble?  At the Geek Squad, we charge $200 to remove any and all malware (a flat-rate fee regardless of how infected your computer is), and an additional $60 - $80 to install and update recommended protection software (software included).  Is the extra trouble worth $280?  :-)

The Perfect AntiVirus: How To Keep From Getting Infected
There's no such thing as the "perfect antivirus".  Computers running the "best of the best" protection software programs can still get infected.  Updated, tougher computer malware infections hit the internet faster than protection software companies can possibly keep-up.  However, if and when computers do get infected while running top-notch protection software, it's usually only getting one or two malware infections versus ten or twenty.  From a techie's standpoint, it's much easier to clean one or two computer infections versus ten or twenty of them.  And the best defense against getting computer infections is simply using common sense.  If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.  And usually you'll pay one way or another for anything that's "free" (except for the recommended free software in this blog).  ;-)

Please e-mail this blog to as many people as possible!!!
Blog Link: http://junkmail3612.blogspot.com/2010/01/fake-antiviruses.html

No comments: