Beware of “Fake Antivirus” Programs That Infect Your Computer!
Imagine this! You turn on your computer and log into Windows. You are very excited that you finally bought a new computer, and you can’t wait to get online and began surfing the web! So you open up Internet Explorer and your heart is beating fast with anticipation. You’ve now been introduced to fake anti-virus and anti-spyware software!
Fake anti-virus software can be disguised as legitimate anti-virus software, requesting you to download it to protect your system for a “small fee.” Many times people are fooled into buying anti-virus software from non-reputable companies, only to realize later (for example): that they paid $50.00 or more, to download software that doesn’t work; while their credit card is showing additional unauthorized charges from the “anti-virus company!”
The anti-virus company won’t return calls, has no phone number to call and no customer support! As a matter of fact, the company has no real anti-virus software, because they are SCAMMERS!
It’s good to keep in mind that thieves are now using rogue anti-virus programs to steal your personal information and wreck havoc on your financial well being, as well as selling your information to MORE thieves!
Many times, fake virus programs are actually a “Trojan”, which is a program that takes control of your computer while remaining “hidden.” Sometimes, the Trojan creates “false positives,” fooling you into thinking your computer is infected, even though it isn’t. In other cases, this software places malicious code into your computer, causing many unwanted and possibly critical problems for your computer. Beware of clicking on websites or ads that advertise “free virus scanning.” You will usually do your computer more harm, than good.
What to look for to determine if you’re infected
1.) You will see constant alerts that your system is infected, with numerous pop-ups; including system stability issues.
2.) You will get constant pop-ups, even when you are not on the internet
3.) Your computer is dramatically slower
4.) Your desktop changes without your command, or your homepage is changed or is re-directed to another site that you didn’t choose.
How to help prevent fake anti-virus/spyware programs from infecting your PC
1.) Use Firefox instead of Internet Explorer!
2.) Use a good anti-virus program, and make sure it is set to update automatically (new definitions are released daily in many cases as new viruses are released daily!)
3.) Always have a firewall enabled on your computer, even if it is the Windows Firewall
4.) Never open an email unless you are definitely sure that it is from a trusted source (sometimes that trusted source may actually have a virus on his/her PC, sending rogue emails!)
5.) NEVER click on any pop-up that advertises anti-virus/spyware software.
6.) If you get a virus alert on your screen (“You are infected..”) NEVER click it! Instead, press “Ctrl + Alt + Del” to view a list of the programs running. Find the rogue program and click “End Task.”
7.) DO NOT use peer to peer file sharing programs such as “Limewire”, as this is a sure way to get infected; especially if you are not savvy network and computer security.
Hopefully this article has helped save many of you from hours of frustration, and will prevent a trip to your local computer store, or even to TekTime for repair! Remember that it takes effort and education to prevent becoming infected, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.