If you have owned a computer, you have probably experienced the dreadful feeling of panic when you believe your computer has a virus. Personally, I have had it on several occasions and immediately fear sets in. Fear of losing all your documents, fear of losing those treasured photographs, fear of losing your financial records. These are some very anxious moments that can be tempered with a little preventative maintenance.
Marc Anthony Arena, President of Teknosophy, LLC focuses on protecting computer customers from viruses, toolbars, online scams and nagware. He is the author of “How to Protect Yourself From Your Computer” and Co-host of the Computer Exorcist radio show. According to one of his many intriguing computer safety articles entitled “Digital Barnacles”, Arena believes the computer threat is no longer viruses, but these 5 scams are what we should pay attention to now:
Garbage Protection Software:
Interestingly, this software is not equipped to protect you from viruses and they are the real reason that your computer is slow. Arena services computers for his customers and as soon as he removes the protection software, the computer runs faster and the problems vanish. Arena believes Norton, McAfee and many others slow down your computer by implementing paranoia on your machine without protecting you from new threats.
These are legal spyware made by gray market companies and no protection software can detect them. They monitor you, hijack your settings and find a way to monetize everything you look for.
You may remember the first scam was called the 419 scam. On many occasions, it was an impostor posing as someone of great wealth who needed to get a significant sum of money out of their country and wanted your assistance. On other occasions, they were phishing scams that led you to financial sites that recorded your username and password. Their latest scam is a Hoax virus, sometimes known as scare-ware, rogue security software or hostage-ware and can make things very difficult for you.
As Arena calls them, usually come from the factory, but can never ever protect you from any modern threats. What they do provide, however, are lots of side effects. They might fix one or two things, but then they usually break three or more other things for good measure. They usually slow down the machine massively in hopes that you put it in the garbage and buy another one. They also give the publisher more rights to spy on you. Arena is adamant about never appeasing an update attack!
With these scams, you will receive a phone call or a scary message will flash on your computer screen. It leads you to believe you have thousands of viruses and "foreign hacks". The person on the other end of the phone claims to be from Microsoft/Apple or another vendor. They will read a list of all the scariest words they know, and then ask you to visit a remote-control website. If you let them control your computer, they will destroy it and then ask you for hundreds of dollars. Arena advises to hang up on them immediately and do not let them take remote control of your machine!
As for these defensive computer tips, Arena and other experts recommend using a little common sense. You can never be too cautious! If you receive an email message from a financial institution asking for personal information, you better call your banking representative prior to responding. One final bit of advice from Marc Anthony Arena, if you are planning to download anything, make sure you are on the official download site.