Monday, September 1, 2014, AM | Leave Comment
“Your computer is under attack. A virus has been detected. Scanning your computer has started. Now give us the money to remove it.” That’s the essence of the message that good decent folks get on their computer when they are surfing online.
Sometimes, the message is hidden in a pop-up window and these days, you can seldom click on a link without encountering some kind of pop-ups.
Especially when you click on a link belonging to big businesses. It’s so annoying. NetFlix pop-ups are everywhere. I have blocked them in Firefox.
Those kinds of pop-ups are annoying at worst. However, there are pop-up Ads that have some kind of virus hidden in them.
The problem is you think you are clicking on a link leading to a site that you trust and you see a pop-up advertisement, usually done by duping small-time ad networks.
More often than not (about 50% of the time), there is a virus in the ad. Malvertising, as this practice is known, can exploit software [read browser] vulnerabilities or dispatch deceptive pop-up messages.
So many times, I have encountered sites that immediately start scanning on my hard disk and tells me that I have virus and God knows what else on my computer. At the time, the best I can do is to exit that site ASAP.
A virus was found on your computer
Mostly though, a particularly popular swindle involves an alert that a virus was found on the computer, followed by urgent messages to buy software to remove it.
This is frequently known as scareware. Of course, there is no virus and the security software is fake. It is just another ploy to get your credit card number along with with some dollar amount.
“Scareware accounts for half of all malware delivered in ads, up fivefold from a year ago,” according to Google.
Here is how to remove it
Closing the pop-up or killing the browser will usually end the episode. But if you encounter this scam, check your PC with your trusted security software or Microsoft’s free Malicious Software Removal Tool which cleaned scareware from 7.8 million PCs in the second half of 2009, up 47 percent from the 5.3 million in the first half, according to Microsoft.
Another tool that can defend against malvertising, among other Web threats, is the free K9 Web Protection, from Blue Coat Systems. Though it is marketed as parental-control software, K9 can be configured to look only for security threats like malware, spyware and phishing attacks – and to bark each time it stops one.
In a Nutshell
The Web is a fountain where you quench your thirst for information – some good, some not so good and some that can ruin your day. Just be ultra careful when you click.