How do viruses and trojans get into my computer
At Bay City Computers there are two questions most people ask
after they become infected by a nasty virus or trojan. They
- how do these threats get into my computer? and
- what motivates people to create these threats?
We will answer the second question first because it puts the
situation in perspective. Threats these days are developed by
major crime syndicates who engage in deception and fraud to steal
your money or information which they can then trade with other
criminals for money.
Criminals are now engaging in what is termed "Social Engineering"
which is basically a term used to describe the tricks used to
deceive you into clicking on a link on a web site or opening an
email which leads to your computer being infected.
About 95% of email today consists of SPAM and many of these are
scams. These scams make use of social engineering or
trickery. If an email looks suspicious then it probably
is. Here are our eight tell tale signs that an email is
- You don't know the sender
- You do know the sender but the message is out of character for
that person or organisation
- The message is alarmist saying that your account on facebook or
the bank or your hotmail has been compromised and you need to
confirm your password details.
- They offer money or prizes.
- They offer Viagra, or cheap drugs
- They include a current popular topic for example using Michael
Jackson in the heading about the time of his death.
- Bad grammar or deliberate misspelling.
- The email contains an attachment.
One of the worst infections that we have seen a lot of recently
are rogue security software scams. Rogue security
software pretends to offer security warnings and ask you to pay for
subscriptions to buy their so called software. These
rogue infections will shut down your existing security software and
are difficult to turn off or hide. These scams
can appear in email, online advertisements, your social networking
site, search engine results, or even in pop-up windows on your
computer. They are made to appear like Windows error messages but
they are not.
Another source of criminal activities are Phishing attacks which
attempt to fool you into giving up confidential information by
creating fake websites that mimic those from well-known companies.
Westpac and NAB are Australian companies that are commonly
targeted. Emails are sent by the scammers directing you to
these fake websites.
Here are our top tips to avoid falling victim to these
- Never open an email that looks suspicious - see our top 8 tips
for spotting dodgy emails above.
- Remember banks and other financial institutions will never send
an email asking you to change account information. Only respond to
letters from banks sent in the post.
- Never rush into doing anything. If you do open an email
purportedly from the tax department or some other authority, don't
be bullied into responding simply because you're given a deadline
and threatened with some kind of penalty.
- Phone the person or company who sent the email and check
whether they actually sent the email. Be sure you get the
phone number from another correspondence or your phone book, not
from the email or website.
- Install good, up-to-date security software like Trend Micro™
Titanium™ that blocks phishing attacks and advises you of the