This is an excellent overview of the malware topic (in relation to UAC) that I touched upon in previous blog post. Of course, solid anti virus/malware/spyware productions should be considered as a defense, but remember also that locking down your PC on the system (OS) level is important too: i.e. enabling UAC, the Windows Firewall etc. Learn how to use these tools, become familiar and the threat of malware will decrease for you.
“Fake antivirus products, when run, appear to carry out a scan of the user’s PC and inevitably detect a series of infections which are actually false. The applications claim that in order to ‘disinfect’ the computer, users must buy the pay-version of the antivirus. If users fall for this ruse, they will be paying to remove malware which never really existed. The objective of the cyber-crooks behind these scams is, as in most cases, financial gain. Examples of fake antivirus products can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/panda_security/tags/fakeantivirus/.”
Increase in Fake Antivirus Products Caused Adware Figures to Grow in Q3, According to Panda Security
Read it Here!!
After some very scary run ins with the spyware/malware tricks online recently, I have decided to reconsider User Account Control (UAC). In the Vista Control Panel/User AccountsUser Accounts (yes, that’s twice), you can turn UAC on or off. I now recommend turning it ON and commend Microsoft for making this available. It is basically a confirmation of whether or not to install software on your computer. It is a minor annoyance, but is worth the extra typing in of Administrator level account credentials.
At one point recently I was searching Google online for some type of Exchange related issue. I don’t remember the exact details but it was some general Exchange server related terms being searched. The 4Th result that showed up (meaning the miscreants paid Google for it) was a Geocities web site, which I felt was a bit out of place, but by the time I thought hard about it, I was being prompted to install anti spyware software in order to remove spyware software that only exists if you follow through the install: in sum, you install their software, they then classify it as spyware and then you send them $20 to fix the problem they created. Clever. Luckily I was aware of the scam. The immediate fix is to kill all instances of Internet Explorer (Control/Alt/Delte then Task Manager processes). But I know many people were not aware and followed through. The install creates a hellish problem.
If anything, UAC being turned on would give people a little extra time to think of the question: do I really want to install this? That is always a good question users should ask before installing software.