Malware and Other Bad Stuff

Your Computer is Always at Risk
of Becoming Infected

Malware (viruses, worms, trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, scareware, rootkits, phishing, keyloggers, bots) and other malicious programs are constantly evolving and becoming harder to detect and remove. Only the most sophisticated anti-malware products and techniques can detect and remove these malicious programs from your computer.  Below are some recommendations for Windows.
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Basic Malware Protection:

  • Insure only one antivirus is installed. Free versions are usually adequate.
    (Avast, AVG, Panda Cloud, Avira, etc.)
  • Insure only one firewall is activated.
    (Windows comes with its own firewall)
  • Install Malwarebytes Anti-Malware.
    (Does not usually conflict with  antivirus products)
  • Install WinPatrol.
  • Extensions to consider adding to your browser:
    Ad blocker: Adblock Plus or uBlock Origin
    Website safety indicator: Web of Trust
    Tracking blocker: Privacy Badger

    Force HTTPS if available: HTTPS Everywhere
    Website URL or link scanner: VirusTotal
  • Do your regular computer activities on a non-administrative user account.
    (Variously referred to as Standard User, Local User, Limited User account.)

Read up on the workings of your security software.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware combines powerful new technologies built to seek out, destroy, and prevent malware infections.  Malwarebytes Anti-Malware is an easy-to-use anti-malware application available in both a Free and Premium version. The Free version is well-known for its detection and removal capabilities, and the Premium version uses advanced protection technologies to proactively stop malware infections. Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit is now part of the Premium version. Additionally, Malwarebytes offers a host of extra utilities as well as an approachable forum community to help you combat any piece of malware that exists in the wild.  A top malware remover.  Download

Related What’s the Best Antivirus for Windows 10? (Is Windows Defender Good Enough?)
Windows 10 won’t hassle you to install an antivirus like Windows 7 did. Since Windows 8, Windows now includes a built-in free antivirus called Windows Defender. But is it really the best for protecting your PC–or even just good enough?  Read More

WinPatrol monitors and exposes adware, keyloggers, spyware, worms, cookies, and other malicious software. This program puts you back in control of your computer with no need for constant updates. WinPatrol’s goal is to help you understand what programs are running on your computer and to alert you to any new programs added without your permission. Unlike traditional security programs, WinPatrol doesn’t scan your hard drive searching for previously identified threats. Instead, it uses a heuristic behavioral approach, taking a snapshot of your critical system resources, and then alerting you to any changes that occur without your knowledge.  Download


AV-Comparatives provides unbiased tests of security software
AV-Comparatives is an independent organization offering systematic testing that checks whether security software, such as PC/Mac-based antivirus products and mobile security solutions, lives up to its promises.
If you plan to buy an Anti-Virus, please visit the vendor’s site and evaluate their software by downloading a trial version, as there are also many other features and important things for an Anti-Virus that you should evaluate by yourself. Even if quite important, the data provided in the test reports on this site are just some aspects that you should consider when evaluating Anti-Virus software.  http://www.av-comparatives.org/

Basic Computer Security: How to Protect Yourself from Viruses, Hackers, and Thieves
People often think of computer security as something technical and complicated. And when you get into the nitty-gritty, it can be—but the most important stuff is actually very simple. Here are the basic, important things you should do to make yourself safer online.  Read More

How to block ads like a pro – part one
In part one of this series, we had a look at a few reasons why you should be blocking online advertisements on your network and devices. From malvertising attacks and privacy-invading tracking systems to just being an outright annoyance, online ads and trackers are a nuisance that provides an attack vector for malware authors, compromise user security, and plainly, diminish the browsing experience.  Read More

The Freeware Download Sites That Don’t Force Crapware On You, 5/11/16
Most freeware download sites still use shady tactics, unfortunately, cramming their own installers full of unwanted software and misleading advertisements down your throat in order to make a buck. A few sites have started cleaning up their act.  Read More

A Full Review of SUMo, a Free Software Update Monitor, by Tim Fisher
SUMo is a free software update monitor that finds more outdated software than any other updater tool I’ve ever used, but it does have some major drawbacks.  Read More

How to Improve Your Privacy and Security Online
This is for people who use their phones and computers for work and in their personal lives every single day and who want to reduce the chances that those devices and the accounts used by those devices will be compromised.  Read More

Don’t Give Away Historic Details About Yourself
Social media sites are littered with seemingly innocuous little quizzes, games and surveys urging people to reminisce about specific topics, such as “What was your first job,” or “What was your first car?” The problem with participating in these informal surveys is that in doing so you may be inadvertently giving away the answers to “secret questions” that can be used to unlock access to a host of your online identities and accounts.  Read More

Plant Your Flag, Mark Your Territory
Many people, particularly older folks, proudly declare they avoid using the Web to manage various accounts tied to their personal and financial data . . . . The reasoning behind this strategy is as simple as it is alluring: What’s not put online can’t be hacked. But increasingly, adherents to this mantra are finding out the hard way that if you don’t plant your flag online, fraudsters and identity thieves may do it for you.  Read More

The only secure password is the one you can’t remember
Do you always create unique passwords such that you never use the same one twice? Ever? Do your passwords always use different character types such as uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and punctuation? Are they “strong”? If you can’t answer “yes” to both these questions, you’ve got yourself a problem.  Read More

How to Check if Your Password Has Been Stolen
Many websites have leaked passwords. Attackers can download databases of usernames and passwords and use them to “hack” your accounts. This is why you shouldn’t reuse passwords for important websites, because a leak by one site can give attackers everything they need to sign into other accounts.  Read More

How to protect your computer from malicious cryptomining
Noticing that your computer is running slow? While sometimes a telltale sign of infection, these days that seems doubly true. And the reason is: malicious cryptomining. So, what, exactly, is it? We’ll tell you how bad this latest malware phenomenon is for you and your computer, plus what you can do about it.  Read More

Tech Support Scams – Help & Resource Page
Tech support scams are a million-dollar industry and have been around since 2008. Every single day, innocent people are tricked into spending hundreds of dollars on non-existent computer problems. You can use this report as a goto resource when you need it.  Read More

The Ultimate Security Vulnerability Datasource
CVE Details provides an easy to use web interface to CVE vulnerability data. You can browse for vendors, products and versions and view cve entries, vulnerabilities, related to them. You can view statistics about vendors, products and versions of products.  Read More

Don’t Use Your Antivirus’ Browser Extensions:
They Can Actually Make You Less Safe
Most antivirus programs–or “security suites”, as they call themselves–want you to install their browser extensions. They promise these toolbars will help keep you safe online, but they usually just exist to make the company some money. Worse yet, these extensions are often hideously vulnerable to attack.  Read More

Browser AutoFill Feature Can Leak Your Personal Information
Just like most of you, I too really hate filling out web forms, especially on mobile devices. To help make this whole process faster, Google Chrome and other major browsers offer “Autofill” feature that automatically fills out web form based on data you have previously entered in similar fields. However, it turns out that an attacker can use this autofill feature against you and trick you into spilling your private information to hackers or malicious third parties.  Read More

No More Ransom: A Step Towards Eliminating Ransomware
Ransomware is malware that locks your computer and mobile devices or encrypts your electronic files, then offers a way to get it back – you pay for a digital key to unlock your files, which you may or may not receive. The No More Ransom Project offers infected users the chance to get their data back using their free tools.  Read More

Frequent password changes can be counterproductive
Researchers said if people have to change their passwords every 90 days, they tend to use a pattern and they do what we call a transformation. They take their old passwords, they change it in some small way, coming up with a new password. Hampering attackers only minimally and probably not enough to offset the inconvenience to end users.  Read More

7 tips for securing the Internet of Things
If you ignore the cool-sounding name, an IoT device is really just another computer, but one where you don’t have much say in what software runs on it, or whether it can be patched properly, or even secured at all.  Read More

 Antivirus is Dead: Long Live Antivirus
An article in The Wall Street Journal this week quoted executives from antivirus pioneer Symantec uttering words that would have been industry heresy a few years ago, declaring antivirus software “dead” and stating that the company is focusing on developing technologies that attack online threats from a different angle.  Read More

CryptoLocker Ransomware Information Guide and FAQ
There is a lot of incorrect and dangerous information floating around about CryptoLocker.  This guide is from BleepingComputer.com, one of the first support sites to try helping users who are infected with this infection.  Read More

Botnets: What are They, and How can You Protect Your Computer
Botnets are armies of computers that have been compromised by online criminals, usually without the knowledge of the real owner, and remotely commanded to steal information, send spam, spread malware, or launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.  Read More

The Start-to-Finish Guide to Securing Your Cloud Storage
Whether your files are stored on Dropbox, iCloud, or Mega, they could do with a little more security. It’s impossible to make them “hack proof,” but there are a few things you can do to make your data as secure as possible—and still convenient to access. Let’s walk through those steps.  Read More

5 Steps to Lock Down Your Webmail Account
Webmail is a prime target for cybercrooks so it’s vital we all keep our accounts as safe and secure as possible. Here are some of the most important steps to keep unwanted people out of your account.  Read More

Two-factor authentication: Understanding the options
There are numerous sorts of 2FA. Problem is, these 2FA systems all work a bit differently, and they all have different strengths and weaknesses.  Read More

How to Harden Your Browser Against Malware and Privacy Concerns
One of the first lines of defense we have against the plague of security and privacy problems that stalk the internet resides within our browsers. This article is meant to help you to harden your browser against all types of problems.  Read More

Yup, we really are terrible at those password recovery questions
We’ve long known that humans are really, awfully bad at choosing passwords. Just terrible.  Well, it turns out that we’re just as bad at answering those secret, security questions like “What was your first pet’s name?” or “What’s your favourite food?” too.  Read More

If You Download and Run Something Bad, No Antivirus Can Help You
Antivirus should be a last-ditch line of defense, not something you rely on to save you. To stay safe online, you should act as if you had no antimalware software on your computer at all.  Read More

What’s in a Boarding Pass Barcode? A Lot
The next time you’re thinking of throwing away a used boarding pass with a barcode on it, consider tossing the boarding pass into a document shredder instead. Two-dimensional barcodes and QR codes can hold a great deal of information, and the codes printed on airline boarding passes may allow someone to discover more about you, your future travel plans, and your frequent flyer account.  Read More

Android has a big security problem, but antivirus apps can’t do much to help
Yes, Android devices have serious security problems. There’s Android malware out there — mostly outside the Google Play Store. The biggest problem is that most Android devices don’t get security updates. Android antivirus apps aren’t a solution to these problems.  Read More

Report: Everyone Should Get a Security Freeze
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (US-PIRG), a major consumer advocacy group, recently issued a call for all consumers to request credit file freezes before becoming victims of ID theft.  Read More

How to Check for Dangerous, Superfish-Like Certificates on Your Windows PC
Dangerous root certificates are a serious problem. From Lenovo’s Superfish to Dell’s eDellRoot and a number of other certificates installed by adware programs, your computer’s manufacturer or a program you installed may have added a certificate that opens you to attack.  Read More

Motor Vehicles Increasingly Vulnerable to Remote Exploits
Modern motor vehicles often include new connected vehicle technologies. Aftermarket devices are also providing consumers with new features to monitor the status of their vehicles. However, it is important that consumers and manufacturers maintain awareness of potential cyber security threats.  Read More

Eight Tips for Preventing Ransomware
If you haven’t been hit by ransomware personally, you’re either very lucky, or you’ve taken some proactive steps to protect your computers and files. Prevention is far better than a cure. So here are 8 tips to protect yourself against ransomware.  Read More

Should you store your data in the cloud?
The cloud. It’s nebulous. It’s wispy. And you’re probably using it. But what exactly is “the cloud” and are your files safe there? Here’s the real scoop on cloud security.  Read More

Why you can’t trust things you cut and paste from web pages
Repetition teaches us that what goes in to our hand when we Ctrl+C (grab something) comes out of our hand when we Ctrl+V (let it go). But what if it didn’t? What if you reached out to grab one apple but when you opened your hand you had a pair? Or a piranha?  Read More

What is your phone telling your rental car?
When I rent a car, it’s fun to get all the bells and whistles – like navigation, hands-free calls and texts, streaming music and even web browsing. But did you know that cars with these features might keep your personal information, long after you’ve returned your rental car? Here are some things to keep in mind when renting a connected car.  Read More

What Is JavaScript, and Why Is Gmail Blocking It?
You might have seen a notification that things are changing in your inbox. Starting February 2017, Gmail changed its policy regarding JavaScript. Here’s why this is changing, and how you can protect yourself from malicious JavaScript.  Read More

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