You switch on your computer. It seems that it takes longer than usual to boot up. You go on-line, check your e-mail. Again it seems you’ve been waiting too long. Then you buckle down for work. You retrieve your spreadsheet covering the department’s monthly sales performance. Not only does it take too long to open, but when it does, your figures are a jumbled mess of undecipherable symbols and foreign-looking text. Your fears are confirmed. Uh-oh, you’ve been hit by malware. Unlucky you. Nothing will ever describe the hopelessness you feel at this moment. Almost a month’s worth of pain-staking detailed notations, gone. Now imagine this is real-life. Could you avoid a situation like that? Much has been written and blogged about this, by ordinary people and experts, but repeating these only make you more aware of the reality and danger so you are more prepared.
Pop-up windows are those screens or pages, small or big that suddenly come out into your screen, usually as advertisements. If these occur rather frequently and unexpectedly, it is possible that your computer is infected by malware. It has been determined that malware writers get paid for each click and pop-up served. The ads increase rankings of websites – clicking on pop-ups increases the revenue for displays and companies, and at the same time increases the rankings of these sites on Google searches. Clicking on these pop-ups is also not a good idea, for these might just lead you into more malware samples, so it’s just more bad software installing itself in your PC.
Internet banking fraud
In an Internet banking fraud, the scheme is to get your on-line banking information. Malware may be already hiding in your computer, detecting when you access your on-line banking site, recording the details that you provide the site, then transmitting that data to the malware owner who the uses it to transact on-line – with your account. Be aware whenever you log-in to your on-line bank account. Check if there are additional information being requested, or even if the log-in page is the same as what you are used to. On-line crooks may be trying to steal your credentials.
Or you can fall victim to phishing scams. You may be brought by the malware to a fake page – it may be made to look like the real log-in page for your bank. Public computers are especially susceptible to this – never log-on to your on-line bank account in an internet café.
The computer that you use everyday now looks different, desktop items are not those that you set – changes in settings without you doing anything is a sign your PC might be sick. Just remember: if something looks wrong, it probably is.
Normal everyday things that you do on your PC should not slow down drastically – unless it is infected, or unless you’ve installed new software. Some malware codes go undetected with the main objective to steal your computing power and instead use it for malicious activity on-line.
The best thing you can do is install anti-virus software, and keep updating this whenever available. Scan your system regularly, especially after staying on-line for a long period of time. Make sure you update it whenever there are new patches available. Scan your computer regularly. Avoid clicking on just about anything you see on the web. If you see free items being offered, do not just click on it. Make sure the sites are trusted. Avail promos that do not offer free stuff for nothing, choose deals that will give you discounts or something good in return for something. Like the ones offered when using an ATT Uverse coupon code.