Did you know that many downloads and apps, especially the free ones, may invite spyware into your computer? My computer has just come back from a checkup. It had been acting up for the past month, running slow, freezing up, blocking access to sites, etc. What was discovered was pretty scary, at least to me. There were 78 pieces of spyware found.
Norton anti-virus is installed on my computer which I thought protected me from all dangers. While it is an excellent anti-virus program, it DOES NOT STOP SPYWARE. Did you know that?
I’m still having trouble with the whole idea of others being able to access my computer without consent, but then often that isn’t even the case. Do you read the Agreement terms? The biggest mistake we make when downloading something is not reading the agreement. They are generally so wordy that we just go ahead, click agree and download. This may give spyware criminals actual permission to add to or alter your computer files.
Spyware criminals embed stealth packages of dark code on sites we visit – news, shopping, etc. and that allows them to enter your computer unchallenged through out of date software. Don’t ask me how they can do that, but they can. Keeping all software and programs updated is crucial.
So how do you get spyware on your computer?
- Download free apps, including money-saving apps;
- Download free music, videos and games;
- Dating sites;
- Jokes that are attached to emails;
- Other email attachments from people you don’t know.
The only one that I’m guilty of is the first one – I do download money-saving apps and learning/information articles, but only from what I believe are trusted sites. Yet I ended up with all that spyware.
What are some of the things that can result from this spyware?
- Annoying Pop-ups – some could be for recommended downloads from fake Microsoft sites or other sites we trust. To download anything, go directly to the site itself. For instance, if you want to download something you believe comes from or is recommended by Microsoft, go to Microsoft.com – never click the link on the pop-up;
- Phishing emails – Reminder here: No reputable business, bank, finance company, police department or government agency will contact you by email or via the Internet;
- Request for money, whether it’s payment for a fine or to help a sick friend or you’ve won a prize and only need to pay shipping, NEVER give money to anyone you don’t personally know and trust;
- Worst case scenario – Identity theft. Use of your bank account, credit cards and credit information and even your reputation. It’s important to change all your passwords on a regular basis.
What can you do?
If you’re not sure whether or not your computer is infected by spyware, have it checked by a reputable computer tech. The cost is minimal compared to what could be happening on your computer. Have your tech recommend and install a really good Malware program. I now have Malwarebytes anti-malware, premium. It will cost you a little, but if it keeps you and your identity safe, it is well worth it. What Malwarebytes does is alert you when another site or computer is trying to make changes to your computer.
Here is a link to a site that has further interesting information: http://static-cdn.malwarebytes.org/assets/datasheets/2015-03-09/exploit-kits-infographic.png
It was rather shocking, to say the least, to find all this spyware on my computer. However, if writing about my experience can alert others to the spyware problem it will at least have a positive twist.
Talk to you again next week,
Both Images courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net