Article: Internet Scams 102 Hijackings and Spyware

by Janette Blackwell


My friend Janice is afraid to go on the Internet because of the terrible things that might happen to her. She views a simple trip to get email the way she views going alone, late at night, to a dangerous part of town.

Please . . . its not that bad. Though, come to think of it, its ALMOST that bad: hijackers can now do things to people who already have antivirus and antispyware programs. To people who have carefully NOT clicked on scam emails. Some hijackers can disable your firewall, your antivirus software, and your spyware killers. Or they can prevent antivirus and spyware from being updated.

But there are solutions. Heres what you do:

HIJACKINGS

You know youve been hijacked if your start page is different and if you keep getting things you didnt intend to get frequently pornographic sites and popup ads. You change things back the way they were, but they wont stay changed.

These nasties nabbed you through a security hole in Microsoft Windows.If you havent been caught and dont want to be, http://www.spywareinfo.com/articles/hijacked/prevent.php says,

First and most simply, stop using Internet Explorer. If you use either Mozilla, Firefox or Opera, you are immune to virtually all browser hijackers.

Actually, its not that simple. There are ways scammers can get around Firefox. Microsoft is also busy locking its barn doors, though Im afraid the horse has already been stolen.

If you decide to stay with Internet Explorer, be sure to keep it up to date, especially with what they call critical updates.

PREVENTING ATTACKS

The most basic and most necessary protection, one youve probably installed already, is antivirus protection. The antivirus programs upgrade constantly to protect us from the latest viruses. Norton is the most common, and a good choice. If you prefer a simple, uncomplicated solution, go to the site that sells Norton, http://symantec.com/, and download all the antivirus protection you want.

If youre a thorough person, however, one who wants to learn about all the options, go to http://antivirus.about.com/od/antivirussoftwarereviews/, and you will learn of problems and solutions you never dreamed existed.

WHAT YOU GET FOR NOTHING IS NOTHING OR WORSE

Unfortunately, an antivirus program alone is not enough these days. You need ANTISPYWARE.

Because the latest hijackers can disable antispyware AND keep you from downloading updates you want some that is really, really good. The techie who manages my website says, Get something that can WARD OFF attacks, not just remove them after theyve infected you. Once really vicious spyware is on your machine, it may be impossible for anyone but an expert to remove it.

But what about all the free antispyware? you ask. If you go to http://www.apcug.net/Reports/Editorial/2004.htm, youll see under December 2004 an article Beware of SCUMWARE Pretending to be AntiSpyware which tells one mans experience. Sometimes what you get for nothing is nothing. Or worse than nothing.

When my computer ran slower and slower, some parts of my website disappeared, and question marks appeared all over my website homepage, I yelped for help. Should have yelped sooner, but better late than never. Asked my website manager what he uses. He uses Lavasofts PROFESSIONAL program of AdAware and AdWatch. I bought it, and it found 17 pieces of spyware (Alexas and tracking cookies), plus a possible browser hijack attempt. (The techie said, Thats nothing. They found 83 pieces of spyware on mine But then hes a pro.) AdAware removed all the problems except the question marks on my website home page, http://foodandfiction.com/Entrance.html. These are probably due to the attempted hijack. Im stuck with them. Fortunately they dont show on any computer except mine.

If you want to lead a simple life, come here to http://lavasoft.com and download their PROFESSIONAL type of AdAware and AdWatch.

If you prefer an indepth investigation of antispyware,
http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/article/0,aid,119572,00.asp can help you. Theyve tested most of the antispyware out there, though I must say that AdAwares pro version was not tested, only the pc version.

Just dont wait until youre in big trouble. Do something now

IF YOUVE BEEN HIJACKED

A good, basic article can be found by going to http://www.apcug.net/Reports/Editorial/2004.htm. Scroll down to September 2004 and download Help Ive Been Hijacked . . .

Another good article is, How to Remove Adware and Spyware, http://antivirus.about.com/od/securitytips/a/removespyware.htm.

You might also read Invasion of the Browser Snatchers at
http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,84464,tk,dn021402X,00.asp. The article will explain how to undo the damage although some hijack damage cant be removed that easily.

MORE INFORMATION

Here are more good sources of spyware information:

http://www.scumware.com/ a website about nothing else but.

http://www2.spywareinfo.com/category/news/ has fascinating current Internet security news flashes, which you will enjoy if you like to feel that civilization as we know it is under constant threat.






About the Author


Find the best recipe, food gift, and healthy dieting sites on Janette Blackwells Delightful Food Directory, http://delightfulfood.com/main.html or enjoy her country cooking at Food and Fiction, http://foodandfiction.com/Entrance.html




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