Monday, 22 November 2010

Security Threats To Your PC - Part 1

This is NOT a 'self-help' guide, nor is it intended to be - it is intended to make users aware of the risks they face while using the internet - and it provides suggestions and advice on how to best mitigate those risks. If you are infected, or think you may be infected, then contact HC Computers by visiting their website at


The idea is to make money from other people’s misery. Identity theft is common, scams trying to sell you worthless applications abound and spam networks and botnets are all the rage – all in an attempt to make money. This is not just a few pounds or dollars we are talking about – one group of bad guys known as the Russian Business Network is estimated to turn over somewhere around £100m pounds a year – yes £100 million!

Pop ups and Rogue Applications

One of the most obvious things to avoid on the internet is clicking ‘OK’ to a pop up. Many inexperienced users still click ‘OK’ without a moments thought. Unless you can be 1000% sure that you know the source of the pop up and that the originator is someone to be trusted, do not click ‘Yes’ or ‘OK’ to a pop up. Many pop ups will try and convince you that you need a specific codec to watch a video. Usually such a codec is not needed and instead you will receive a package of malware.

Pop ups that tell you that your system is already infected are another speciality – nowadays they look almost identical to genuine scanner/AVs – and many users are tricked into buying a worthless programme. If you receive such an offer, do not buy anything. Your system was probably not infected in the first place but as soon as you click on the ‘OK’ button you could well find that you really are infected. The main aim of these types of scams is to extract payment for a worthless programme. Such applications are known as ‘rogues’ or ‘rogue software’.


Many users still click ‘Yes’ or ‘OK’ when asked if they want to download a file. You need to stop and ask yourself some questions. Were you trying to download a file? Do you know the source of the file? Is the file name recognisable? If you answered ‘No’ to any of these questions, then why are you still willing to download the file? Unless you know the source of the file, perhaps a file you specifically requested from a reputable site, then neverdownload an unknown file. The chances are it will include an infection and could allow an attacker to take over your system.

This also applies to files included as e-mail attachments. If you don’t know the sender, delete the e-mail and ask questions later. If necessary make a note of the sender’s e-mail address.