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Your Computer Is Infected Popup - Should I Click on It?

February 22, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 162

Absolutely not! Whatever you do, avoid clicking on an unsolicited 'pop up' message that claims to have discovered an infection on your computer and makes promises to help you get rid of it. You can be sure that your browser has been infiltrated by malware that has more than likely been picked up from the Internet. Why make things worse?

Pop ups, many times, contain active computer code that can cause you problems. The writers of such programs are aware of vulnerabilities that exist in current versions of popular software. The creators of pop up ads try to lure you into their clutches with offers of free software that you can use to allegedly clean your machine. What you are doing, if you okay the offer to help, is facilitating the loss of more control over your computer. It's off to the races for the bad guys when you click on a malicious pop up.

You can be assured that your computer system will be invaded by nasty variants of malicious software ranging from Trojan horses to spyware that enlist your computer in a 'bot army'. Worse yet, it can cause you to lose valuable and confidential information, such as your personal identity.

The perpetrator of the pop up ad has anything but your best interest at heart. The bad guy behind the scheme graciously leads you through the process of taking over your computer.

Listed below are some of the worst consequences associated with clicking on a malicious pop up.

1. Even if the pop up is benign it is an uninvited guest on your system and, unbeknownst to you, can create chaos on your system.

2. Pop ups can embed themselves in your operating system and be very difficult to remove.

3. Pop ups can be making money for the person who sent them in the first place. You might even be opening up a wider door for more pop ups.

4. A pop up can connect you to infamous "900" numbers and you get the bill.

5. Pop ups can install spyware on your computer and send any personal information it finds to identity thieves.

6. Sophisticated pop up ads can install programs that track your movements on the Internet and report the information to third parties.

7. Pop ups can install malicious software on your computer that logs (copies) all of your key strokes and, on demand from its creator, the malicious software can return the results.

8. Pop ups can enlist your computer into performing unsavory tasks, either alone or in concert with others, that cause damage to someone elses information infrastructure. This is known as downstream liability.

How can you avoid pop ups? Here are a few suggestions:

a. Set your browser (usually through the "Tools" option) to block pop up ads.

b. Purchase and install software that blocks pop ups.

c. Regularly update your operating system software.

d. Make sure you have the latest version of the browser (and other software, too) that you use.

e. Avoid downloading and installing questionable software that you get from a friend, relative or associate which can already contain malware.

f. Know the destination of any hyperlinks you click on.

A significant risk is associated with pop ups. You must avoid responding to them regardless of how tempting they are.

Learn more about computer security by downloading Dr. William Perry's FREE ebook, "How to Secure Your Computer". Just access the web site, and click on the "FREE eBook" link.

Dr. Perry is the owner of Alliant Digital Services which publishes the Computer Security Glossary. Alliant Digital Services provide high quality information security guidance to individuals and organizations that must plan for the protection of mission critical information in an asymmetric threat environment while complying with industrial- strength information security standards (i.e. COBIT, ISO 27000, FISMA, HIPAA, EPHI and the new HITECH Act).

Dr. Perry is an information security specialist with significant experience as a university professor, author and service provider to various federal agencies including the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Defense and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Source: EzineArticles
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