Microsoft Windows and your PC


.. aka virus and Trojan infections

There was a time when spyware, malware and virus infections were relatively easy to remove. This is not the case anymore. Some infections will still go relatively easily, but others will come back regardless of any effort to remove them. This is particularly true where a computer has been allowed to mop up multiple infections. If you are wondering how these infections get through defences, the answer is simple. They are let in by the computer user, albeit unwittingly.

Some will rely on instilling fear

A popup appears on the screen which states that the computer has xx number of virus infections, and xxx number of Trojans and other assorted unwanted code. Bearing in mind that it can take hours to do a proper spyware/malware scan, you should be asking yourself how a web page managed the same scan in the time it took to load into the browser.

It will then suggest that you click on 'X' to do a free scan. Why the need for a free scan when it has already told you that you are badly infected?

The free scan involves downloading a running a small program but does not include free removal. The information page didn't tell you this but you should have seen it coming. For this part, you will be asked to pay or suffer the consequences of a severely infected machine.

By the time that you have reached this point, you are indeed severely infected because the small applet you downloaded and ran in all good faith will keep reminding you that you need to pay up or else!!

A tip for you: The best 'free scan and remove' anti-spyware applications do NOT pursue this kind of hard sell policy.

Fun things are a great way to gain umauthorised access to a computer..

Be aware that some authors of freeware get paid for their work by allowing 'sponsors' to attach what is essentially spyware to the download of the free product. There will be little wrong with the program or applet itself, but the applets, courtesy of the sponsor, which download in the background will often set up redirectors making it impossible for you to search the web at locations where you want to go.

They will also add toolbars to your browser, a visible sign that you have been 'caught'. Instant Messenger add-ons and emoticons for chat clients are prime candidates for sponsors, but do not make the mistake of assuming that these are the only ones.

A tip for you: The best way around is to look for check boxes on the hosting web site which may give you the option of whether sponsor ware is installed or not. Also, use the 'Custom Install' function if available. Sometimes, you are given the option of not installing a couple of items, but there may well be a couple hidden in the 'custom install' function.

Curiosity killed the cat..

For those of you who do not surf the Internet too much, the spyware/malware originators have not forgotten you. E-mail is still one of the best ways to get infections into a computer.

Apart from the many messages regarding body part enhancing, fake big name watches, cheap pharmaceutical products etc, there are invitations to contact friends you never had at schools you never attended. You might also be invited to view the 'hot video' which your aunt (or other relative) uploaded to the Internet only yesterday!

A tip for you: If you don't recognize the name of the friend who sent you an e-card, you are not even living in the same country as the school which the 'friend is claiming to have attended, and you know full well that none of your relatives have not and never will upload a hot video of themselves, resist the temptation to check out the invitations at ALL costs.