Tag Archives: internet hacking

SpyWare & Adware: How to stay safe online

Beware of spyware and Adware -graphics -Mani Navasothy
Beware of spyware and Adware -graphics (c)ManiN

The following advise was sent out by Norton. I thought it good enough to share with you all, in case you have had these Spyware & internet virus problems. BTW, When I had a major internet / virus problem back in late 1990’s I had to reformat my (then) old PC and lost about 3 years worth of data and works.   It was then that I decided to get anti-virus safety software, and have kept up annual subscription. I know there are many FREE softwares, but am not sure if those FREE ones give the regular updates and support. So personally I am  a fan of buying a safety software (for as little as £25 these days) and it keeps your PC safe (total of 3 PCs) for a year. Not bad an investment and head-ache free.

-Mani  Navasothy

———————————- Advise from Norton begins———————–

Have you ever clicked on an intriguing ad or link while surfing the Web and had a barrage of pop-up windows flood your screen or your browser suddenly send you to a slew of unsavory sites? Or have you ever installed a free download and noticed that your computer is suddenly sluggish because, unbeknownst to you, a program is now tracking your online movements?

Welcome to the mystifying world of spyware and adware. These programs are more than annoying. They can also pose security risks to everyday Internet users like you.

Spyware and Adware

Spyware usually finds its way onto your computer without your knowledge or permission. It runs in the background, collecting information or monitoring your activities. A lot of spyware harvests information related to your computer and how you use it. For example, it may monitor your Web browsing patterns. However, more sophisticated forms of spyware have been known to capture and transmit highly personal information to identity thieves, from your website passwords and usernames to your credit card numbers or copies of your instant messages.

Adware is slightly different than spyware–the intent is primarily to display advertising content on your computer. Often using pop-up windows, adware programs flash advertisements and links to other websites. Many of these ads tout legitimate products. Some adware monitors your browsing activities and then uses that information to deliver more focused advertising content. Some people don’t mind, but others consider this practice an invasion of privacy.

The most important question is: Do you want this program on your computer? If it compromises privacy and security as you define it (or at a minimum, becomes a nuisance), then it falls squarely in the category of unwelcome software. And that means you need to learn how to deal with it.

How to Remove Spyware and Adware

Whether they pose security risks or performance headaches, it’s clear some types of spyware are more than a nuisance. For example, spyware and adware, working busily in the background, can dominate your computer’s resources, sometimes bringing down your entire system. While a slow machine is annoying for anyone, it’s especially hard on home office users.

Often these programs get installed along with other programs you’ve loaded. Of course, there’s probably some sort of notification within the software’s licensing agreement. However, these agreements tend to be quite long, and most of us don’t read them in their entirety. In a typical scenario, spyware or adware gets bundled with freeware you download from the Internet. While some see this as a fair tradeoff–you get free software, the software-maker gets to observe your habits–others find it deceptive and invasive.

Meanwhile, a lot of unwelcome software makes its way onto your machine as you surf the Web. In many cases, they get you to trigger a download by clicking on a pop-up window or fake dialog box. Some pop-ups contain an “urgent” or enticing message. It might offer a free gift or claim that you need to download software to see a Web page. The window often presents what appears to be a “yes” or “no” choice. In reality, if you click the window, it will download spyware or adware to your computer, so be sure to just close the window.

How to Avoid Spyware and Adware

A lot of unwelcome software ends up on your computer in part because of something you did or did not do. Here’s how to avoid unwanted spyware or adware:

  • Be selective about what you download to your computer. Make sure you really need a program before downloading it. And if you’ve never heard of the software maker, read its website carefully to learn more about the people behind the technology, as well as the technology itself. Also, watch out for ActiveX, which is a common tool for installing spyware without your knowledge or consent. You can turn off ActiveX via your browser preferences and you can always turn it back on should a trusted site require it.
  • Read licensing agreements. It can seem daunting to read these agreements, but to play it safe, don’t just scroll to the bottom and click the “I accept” button when installing freeware. Instead, read each agreement carefully and look for language pertaining to any information-gathering activity, which could mean that you’ll get spyware or adware along with your freebie.
  • Watch out for anti-spyware scams. The Web is rife with “anti-spyware” tools that do little or nothing to prevent spyware. Some even make it worse. Purveyors of these tools often provide free scans, which almost invariably identify hundreds of spyware programs on your computer. They then immediately ask you to buy their bogus product.
  • Beware of clickable advertisements. Try to avoid programs–especially freeware–that flash clickable ads. These ads should be a red flag. If you click the ads, it’s possible someone is watching how you respond to them.

————————————————– Advise from Norton ends————————

Safety tips to avoid spams

Hi all,  lately, I’ve been getting so many spam e-mails …from my friends’ accounts.   Sad that their accounts have gotten hacked..   and it makes me protect my own accounts even more.

As they say..  your account getting hacked is not just a possibility..but a certainty.  It’s a matter of when!   (I got hacked a number of years ago..  PC was so corrupted..I lost 3-4 years of work..  Then started to back up everything…and also every year, invested in a proper firewall software!)

So here are some personal tips that I myself have thought about and think is valuable.   Ya know what..I have made these mistakes myself..and have learnt from them..  🙂

Be safe!

here are some steps I thought would be useful for us all:
(Not all these will be applicable to all).

1.  Keep your firewall & virus-protection softwares installed AND regularly (almost daily) updated. Hundreds of new trojan & viruses are created and released by hackers every day – for fun or to exploit or to make a statement.

2.  When using your own mobile devise (phones, ipads, e-book readers, blackberry etc)…and accessing the internet / e-mails/ social networks…from cafe’s, shops, global hot-spots, wi-fi etc in shopping centres etc… be very careful. Anyone with a half-decent scanning software can intercept and copy your codes/passwords.. !

3.  When actually using other computers – in shops, cafe’s, work-places… where you are using another computer on an open network, becareful. If you can, avoid using external computers to check your private e-mails.. and if you must, clear the browser of your browsing history/cookies/ passwords [some external networked computers don’t allow this…in which case you are bug***d!]

4. Always log in and LOG-OUT from any online e-mail and social network systems …after using them for the moment. [**even if it is your own home computer!**] This is where people go wrong more than half the time. Yahoo, hotmail, googlemail..etc and twitter/facebook are all online log-in sites that work on a browser software – such as internet explorer / netscape or Google chrome!
– The point is, longer you have your account logged in…more exposed your account is for hackers to have a go…and sooner or later ..they will crack it. (Applies when you log in to use it, then go off to watch tv, take a shower, cook, have long phone calls… or just leave it on and go out for the day..).
-It doesn’t matter if you have the best firewall… log-out when you have finished. Re-logging takes a few key-strokes and few seconds…but saves your account!!

5. Protect your self…and you are protecting your friends! Remember, in your address book, there may be many hundreds of e-mail lists. One vulnerable account can expose hundreds of other people’s accounts!

6. When sending mass e-mails to people, groups,….please `blind carbon copy’ (Bcc) all their e-mails.. so each person on that list knows it’s coming from you…but can not know who else you copied it to. And if their account gets hacked, they can’t expose all those other people.. (bit like witchcraft.. don’t expose your friends to the world).

7. Don’t buy cheap virus/firewall software… Get a decent one like..Norton or McAfey etc.. And regardless of what other `experts (?)’ say, don’t upload a free firewall..from the internet. Nothing in the world is truly free. Chances are those free softwares have some flaws, or don’t have support or daily updates. So they become out of date from the moment you start using them!!

8. If you see a strange e-mail, with no subject matter …or one that does not seem relevant, DON’T open it.. and if you have to open it… don’t click on any links!

9. Finally, Spammers are even setting up very clever paypal/bank/e-bay like domain names (with just one tiny spelling change…which on a quick look …seems like the genuine thing).
example:
http://www.e-bayi.com has an extra i at the end..which can seem like your eye is splaying tricks..so you ignore it. Those mails ask you to check your account…`because of a security issue’ etc (very clever in panicking you!). If you just HOVER over the link they show, you can see…on the bottom of the browser..what that link really is. This is because anyone can type a link address.. but put a real link to go somewhere else (often to a spam/harvest site).
Here’s an example
www.pflondon.org is a web address..but I have put a link in it to actually go to my blog (where this safety guide is also blogged). (just click it and you’ll see! 🙂
Spammers and hackers are 1000 times more clever than this!

Take care

-Mani