New and Interesting ways your computer is becoming infecting

Most Wanted Computer Viruses (1991)

When clients contact us for malware removal on desktops and laptops in Lawrence, Kansas as well as elsewhere in our region, the most common question we get asked is “How did I get infected?” It’s a reasonable question.

Sometimes the computer you purchased already has malware installed. Yes, it’s true. Sometimes it’s by accident as in this case where a computer manfucturer was hacked or it’s infected by the company you purchased or rented the computer from as this national FTC settlement talks about.

Other times it’s actually Google infecting your computer…sort of. What happens is the bad guys (and gals) use Search Engine Poisoning (SEP) and take popular search terms and instead of taking you to a website you intended to go to such as “Black Friday Deals” it takes you to a website that has a virus. These websites are quickly taken down and Google catches on that they are malicious but between the time the poisoning occurs and the website is taken down you can get infected. Blue Coat Security noticed a 80% increase in SEP last holiday season and the full report is here.

This a really difficult one to protect against because who doesn’t use Google to search for items?
The threat that really scares me and we are seeing more and more of is infections via Skype. As more people use Skype to chat with family and friends they unknowingly click on links in messages they receive. Unsuspecting computer users are lulled into a false sense of security assuming that links via Skype are safe. They aren’t. Skype accounts can get hijacked just like email accounts. Even if someone says they are from Skype, Microsoft or another seemingly legitimate company, don’t trust the link. This is a variation of the scam I wrote about in which Microsoft, Knology or AT&T calls your phone convincing you to follow a link.

Always be careful and aware of what you click and why as well as have up-to-date software and reliable antivirus and antimalware program regardless of whether you are on a Mac or PC. Of course if you need help finding or configuring these programs, please feel free to contact us.

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