Tag Archives: spyware

Rental Computers from Aaron’s are Spying on You

Renting furniture, home appliances and electronics is pretty easy these days, thanks to chain store Aaron’s Inc. With the economy forever tanking, people may not be able to afford to go out and buy something outright. Let’s say your stove bites the dust… heading to Aaron’s and making small(ish) monthly payments is preferable to shelling out several hundred bucks all at once for a lot of you. The same holds true with a computer or laptop. The company carries those, as well, but they aren’t exactly being honest with you when you rent one. It turns out that they are – quite literally – spying on you.

A couple in Wyoming signed an agreement with Aaron’s in early 2010 for the purchase of an Inspiron laptop. They paid the machine off in full a month prior to the end date, in October of that year. Two months later, the store manager showed up at their door and attempted to repossess the laptop, claiming it was never paid off. (Side note: Isn’t it funny that the company never contacted them between the payoff period and when the manager showed up?) While arguing over whether the company had the “right” to the Inspiron, the manager pulled out a photograph of Mr. Byrd using the computer… taken with the built-in webcam.

It turns out that Aaron’s routinely installs several layers of tracking software on every computer they lease. This is made by PC Rental Agent. Supposedly, the Agent is designed to keep track of machines so that no one can run off with them, and to lock customers out if they refuse to pay. However, no consumer is ever told of the presence of this evil little piece of software.

According to the lawsuit filed by the Byrds, law enforcement officials determined that there are tracking components soldered onto the motherboard itself. The laptop also has software installed on the hard drive which allows the chain store complete access via keylogging, screenshots and webcam access. Every single keystroke a customer makes is recorded… Every. Single. Keystroke. They’re also snapping photos of your family and guests to your home doing any number of things!

Hello?! This is likely the worst type of privacy invasion I have ever heard of. The potential for abuse of this software is mind-boggling. Any store employee who can use their end of this monitoring software can now access any sensitive and personal data on thousands of machines running around the United States and Canada. The couple and their lawyer are working to turn this into a class-action suit so that other people can come forward. In this case, I am all in favor of a huge lawsuit being slapped on a company by a heck of a lot of former customers.

What are your thoughts?

SUPERAntiSpyware Educational License Special

In the past, we’ve been fortunate to offer discounts on SUPERAntiSpyware to our readers, and the response has always been great. SAS is an excellent product, one which Kat highly recommends. Today I learned that they are offering a very special license for educational institutions, and I wanted to make sure that it is passed along to you. If you are a teacher or administrator, you’re going to want to check this out. If you’re a student, why not show this post to your principal?

From now through August 1, 2010, all SUPERAntiSpyware multi-user licenses sold to educational clients will be upgraded to a lifetime subscription with no renewal fees at no additional charge. “Economic hardship and budget cuts are an everyday reality for school systems at all levels,” said Nick Skrepetos, founder of SUPERAntiSpyware.com. “We highly value the role that education plays in communities worldwide, and we want to support schools in their efforts to provide quality education while balancing their tight and shrinking budgets. Managing high-priced software renewal fees is simply not practical for schools in today’s economic climate. We want to help.”

Additionally, SUPERAntiSpyware will include one Technician’s License for its new portable scanner with each educational license at no additional cost. The portable scanner harnesses the same powerful anti-spyware engine as the Professional Edition of SUPERAntiSpyware and references a spyware definition database that is updated at least once per day.

To take part in this amazing offer, simply send them an email. The danger of malware infections pose a huge threat to the educational system, one which could potentially cost millions of dollars to eradicate. Without proper protection, schools are at risk that can not only rob them of instructional time, but may also require them to pay expensive repair bills.

Protect Your Computer for Christmas

Happy Holidays! If you are one of those generous Santas who is giving a computer this holiday season, please remember to protect it with some anti-virus and anti-spyware software. It seems that the hackers / criminals are going to vary and increase their attacks in the new year. It has been reported that file sharing networks will be under attack.

The tragic death of Brittany Murphy has meant fake sites spreading malware and faked emails leading to bogus sites. It is simply dangerous, and any new computer needs immediate protection.

Sunbelt Software is offering our readers a generous discount on their premier product, VIPRE.

VIPRE Antivirus + Antispyware is high-performance antivirus software that doesn’t slow down your PC like older, traditional security products. VIPRE is the end of antivirus as you know it. The press loves it. VIPRE got 5 STARS on download.com, and was just VB100 Certified…

This award winning software is suitable for Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. And for a limited time, Sunbelt is offering our readers a ten dollar discount.

Please use the following coupon code: SPYINFO

VIPRE combines antivirus, antispyware, anti-rootkit and other technologies into a seamless, tightly-integrated product. Built with next-generation technology, VIPRE (Virus Intrusion Protection Remediation Engine) gives you powerful antivirus and antispyware software in-one that protects you against today’s highly complex malware threats including viruses, adware, spyware and rootkits, without hogging your PC resources like many traditional antivirus products.

This generous offer will be valid until January 5, 2010. Our thanks to the Sunbelt crew for this generous offer to our readers. This product will protect those new computers – and it is a great idea as a year-round gift that is functional every time your friend or family member turns on the computer.

Have a great and safe holiday.

Tempting You to Click

Online advertising is so pervasive that most people barely glance at it. Advertising has become part of the Internet landscape. One way that advertisers are hoping to stir interest is to put their advertising on social network sites like Facebook and Twitter. For example, on Twitter, you would see someone you follow post a link. A click leads to advertising. This has been called in-stream advertising. It carries the weight of someone with whom you have some familiarity online, and it increases the chances that you will click and look at that link.

This type of advertising also provides hackers and criminals another way to access your computer. That person you follow online may have his/her account hacked and may be unknowingly serving up malicious links.

This is just one scheme to deliver malware to your computer. By the time this paragraph is read, there will be new means to spread malware. The daily news will trigger another flood of malware. There is no doubt that the criminals are fast and creative. There are big dollars to be had and easy targets to be found online.

That is why security programs are necessary for protecting your computer from these infections. We repeatedly urge our readers to protect themselves and inform their friends and family. Some of your friends and family may not have the slightest interest in computer security. Those are the people who become easy targets.

You may hear the argument from these people that they are careful online. However, no one can be vigilant 100% of the time. There are drive-by downloads that can install malware on your machine, without your even having to click a link. Sometimes, a person is just tired and errors are made. Hackers count on such errors and an absolutely necessary protection is an excellent security regime on your computer. You should have an anti-virus, a firewall, and at least one anti-spyware program running at all times. For an anti-spyware program, we are recommending SUPERAntiSpyware. We have an excellent deal for you that offers real time protection:

SUPERAntiSpyware has real-time blocking of threats! Prevent potentially harmful software from installing or re-installing! First Chance Prevention examines over 50 critical points of your system each time your system starts up and shuts down to eliminate threats before they have a chance to infect and infiltrate your system.

The program offers much, much more and you can read about it at the links provided. SUPERAntiSpyware will detect and remove spyware, adware, malware, Trojans, dialers, worms, keyloggers, hijackers, rootkits, and many other types of threats. This program is easy to use and it is effective. SUPERAntispyware is being offered at a special rate for our readers. There is a ten dollar ($10.00) saving, until December 3, 2009.

This is a program that is highly recommended within the security community. People who work on these pages use it and recommend it, too. We use it. We need it and so do you. We are trying to make it as easy and as economical as possible for you to protect yourself and your computer.

A Final Line on Malware Protection

The truth of malware today is that it is a cat-and-mouse game between the criminals/hackers and the security people. The hackers are ready to take advantage of every opportunity. Recently, former beauty contestant Carrie Prejean was in the news. It was just hours later that there were malware and spyware sites using the “Carrie Prejean” search to infect computers.

Firewalls and security products are absolutely necessary. This space makes it a regular habit of reminding our readers of the need to be active in protecting your computer and personal, confidential information. No antivirus or antimalware product can guarantee that they are a hundred per cent effective. It would be just an impossible guarantee because of the speed of the internet and the opportunities for crime.

For that reason, there is one product that we believe is necessary and that we recommend. That product is WinPatrol and there is really good reason for using this product.

Some malware can install without you having to do anything. These are the so called “drive-by” downloads. You probably would not know that a malware program has been installed. The hackers are that good at compromising your system. There is a way to protect your machine constantly. WinPatrol is like a watchdog for your computer. And like a great watchdog, it alerts you if there are any attempted changes on your machine. That means that you have a chance to stop a malware installation because WinPatrol has your machine under constant surveillance.

You decide whether to allow any changes on the machine. Even the changes that legitimate programs attempt to make will be noted. You have to allow permission. For example, some program you use now may ‘phone home’ and want to update. WinPatrol will alert you to see if you want this update. It is an extra layer of security – and it prevents a load of problems.

Bill Pytlovany is giving our readers a terrific discount on WinPatrol. Bill is a recognized security expert, with decades of experience. Bill is a recognized expert by Microsoft in their MVP program. Bill is reducing the cost of this program by ten dollars. Use the coupon code: Gnomes for the discount on WinPatrol. It supports “Supports Windows 98 – Windows 7 including x64 systems”.

The offer expires on November 25, 2009.

This is affordable protection. Malware still needs to install on your machine for it to work. WinPatrol gives you one last chance to stop an infection, even though you have a firewall and other security programs. There are many gnomies who would not be without WinPatrol on any of their computers. We recommend it without any hesitation – and it is a huge bargain at this price.

Vipre Protects Your Computer From Malware

There used to be the belief that if one stays away from “bad” Web sites, then malware is not a problem. That is not true, as a recent example with the New York Times illustrated. The popular news Web site was compromised, and the trusted site was serving up malicious ads:

The malicious ad took over the browsers of many people visiting the site, as their screens filled with an image that seemed to show a scan for computer viruses. The visitors were then told that they needed to buy antivirus software to fix a problem, but the software was more snake oil than a useful program.

Exploiting weaknesses in online ad systems is an increasingly common approach for computer criminals around the globe who hope to make a quick buck from the audiences of the sites they attack. Experts say the problem is likely to get worse as companies scramble to satiate a click-happy online culture.”

This is just one way in which criminals / hackers are becoming exceedingly creative in exploiting site visitors. No reputable software company would market products in this manner, but the criminals are relying on the trust that people have in the site.

There have been malware installations without the site visitors having to do anything. These are the so called ‘drive-by’ downloads, and just visiting the site puts one at risk. No click – or download – is necessary.

It is absolutely essential to be running an anti-virus and anti-spyware program. One of our recommendations is VIPRE from Sunbelt Software. It is effective without draining your computer of resources. VIPRE’s memory footprint is very small, and this has brought a lot of memory back to otherwise bogged-down machines.

Sunbelt Software is offering our readers a 20% saving on VIPRE. This offer is good until November 18, 2009.

VIPRE works with “Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista+ (All flavors) 32 and 64-bit, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP SP1, SP2, SP3 (Home, Pro, Media Center, Tablet) 32 and 64-bit and Windows 2000 SP4 RollUp 1.” And yes, it works with Windows 7, too.

The Sunbelt people are making a generous offer to protect all the computers in your home. It is a “home site license” which allows using the program on more than one computer. There is a discount for this “home site license,” and it’s just a huge saving for our readers.

We have worked with the people at Sunbelt for years. They work diligently to keep up with what is happening with computer security. It is a ‘cat-and-mouse’ game where criminals are trying to exploit people in creative and innovative ways. The people at Sunbelt keep up with what is happening and this is reflected in their security product. Many Gnomies use this program… and we recommend it.

Are Hackers Suffering in This Economy?

One of the absurdities that is circulating the Internet is that even hackers are suffering in this economy. With the tough economic situation, supposedly hackers are having more competition. This is just one of the theories to explain why there is a steady increase in malware and criminal activity such as phishing and identity theft.

Whether it is a natural disaster or the death of a celebrity, hackers / criminals are almost always first responders, ready to exploit the situation at hand for personal gain. For example, you may find email that supposedly gives you the latest news about a tragic situation that just occurred. The news story itself may have happened but that email is dangerous. It could carry malware.

The email is just one venue. Are you on Facebook? Have you joined Twitter? These are just some of the examples of social media where people are sharing and clicking on links. If you are on Twitter and have a good number of followers, there are links posted every minute. It would be so easy for a hacker to play the social network and drop some malicious link there. And it will happen more and more often.

There’s even a spam campaign on YouTube. Reports say that this spam does not contain malware. However, it may be a matter of time before slick malware infections find its way onto this popular video site.

This should be frightening to you. These criminals want to exploit you and your computer. You may think you are careful enough. However, no one can be vigilant 100% of the time. There are drive-by downloads that can install things on your machine without your even having to click a link. This is the type of incidence that calls for an excellent security regime on your computer.

You should have an anti-virus, a firewall, and at least one anti-spyware program running at all times. It is foolish to be online without security protection. For an anti-spyware program, we are recommending SUPERAntiSpyware. We have an excellent deal for you that offers real time protection:

SUPERAntiSpyware has Real-Time Blocking of threats! Prevent potentially harmful software from installing or re-installing! First Chance Prevention examines over 50 critical points of your system each time your system starts up and shuts down to eliminate threats before they have a chance to infect and infiltrate your system.

The program offers much, much more and you can read about it at the links provided. It is being offered at a special rate for our readers. There is a ten dollar ($10.00) savings for our readers until October 15, 2009.

This is a program that is highly recommended within the security community. People who work on these pages use it and recommend it, too. We use it. We need it and so do you. SUPERAntiSpyware will detect and remove spyware, adware, malware, Trojans, dialers, worms, keyloggers, hijackers, rootkits, and many other types of threats. This program is easy to use and it is effective. If you have any problems with SUPERAntiSpyware , let us know. We will tell the founder / director of the company and have any problems addressed. Nick Skrepetos is well known in the security community and he stands behind his products. And if you need this program in large numbers, let us know. We will see if we can help with pricing for your company.

You may be wondering why we are recommending security programs when there are programs that are available for free. There is an old adage: ‘you get what you pay for.’ SUPERAntiSpyware has been doing Internet security for years. It is excellent. It works. It protects our machine and has for years. That’s why we recommend it.

Save Your Computer from Malware – and Naked Journalists!

Some days, it seems as though there is a never-ending barrage of new malware out there in the cyber-world. Hackers and criminals are increasingly creative in trying to get you to click the links, thus delivering you their malicious code. People using services like Twitter also have to be concerned about malware – just ask our friend Guy Kawasaki. The trend this week is to use Swine Flu updates, and the lure of a possibly exposed ESPN sports reporter to spread malware. There are just too many schemes to list. In short – they’ll try anything, and stop at nothing.

Without a doubt, there will be new and creative means to spread malware coming tomorrow and the next week.

Along with every major news story, the hackers / criminals will be first responders. They will use these news events as opportunities to infect more computers. If you are using services like Facebook and Twitter, you have to be careful about the links that you click. And even the most careful of computer users slip up once in a while. If you are on Twitter and engaged in reading the posts, the last thing you may be thinking about is protecting yourself from malware. Hackers are counting on that.

That’s why we urge our readers to protect themselves. You may think you are careful enough, however, no one can be vigilant 100% of the time. There are drive-by downloads that can install malware on your machine without your even having to click a link. This is the type of incidence that calls for an excellent security regime on your computer. You should have an anti-virus, a firewall, and at least one anti-spyware program running at all times.

We are very lucky to have Nick Skreptos, founder of the SUPERAntiSpyware program as a friend of our community, and even luckier that he has offered his program to all of you at an excellent discount. We well know how important it is to protect yourself and your data, and we’re happy to be able to help by passing this savings along to you!

SUPERAntiSpyware has Real-Time Blocking of threats! Prevent potentially harmful software from installing or re-installing! First Chance Prevention examines over 50 critical points of your system each time your system starts up and shuts down to eliminate threats before they have a chance to infect and infiltrate your system.

Nick and the SUPERAntiSpyware team have graciously extended to you a ten dollar discount from now until July 28th, 2009.

This is a program that is highly recommended within the security community. People who work on these pages use it and recommend it, too. We use it. We need it – and so do you. We are trying to make it as easy and as economical as possible for you to protect yourself and your computer. This program is easy to use and it is effective.

Protect All of Your Computers at Once

Most people now have more than one computer. Some may have a main desktop machine and a laptop for out-of-the-house work. It is baffling why each and every computer that a person owns does not have the same level of protection against malware and spyware. The analogy that comes to mind is that the front door of the house has the best dead-bolt lock on the market while the back door is secured by a hook and eye mechanism.

Protect all your computers! That cannot be stressed enough. In an office setup, all that is needed to compromise security is for one machine to be infected. The details of how that is done is not relevant here but it is not difficult.

Spyware Doctor is a highly rated and award winning program. The offer that is available is that one purchase allows the person to protect three (3) machines. That is more than sufficient for most people. Spyware Doctor has a long track record over many years:

“Spyware Doctor is a top-rated malware & spyware removal utility that detects, removes and protects your PC from thousands of potential spyware, adware, trojans, keyloggers, spybots and tracking threats.”

The awards and recognition goes back for many years. Privacy Guardian is available to clean and prevent tracking of computer activities. This is an excellent program, at an excellent price. However, your first concern should be security.

Malware attacks are not going away. Just today there were reports of web sites being infected with JSRedir-R. That is just one example. Tomorrow, it might be other junk. Unfortunately, this is just the reality of the Internet. Protect yourself.

Malware – Hate to be Correct

There are times when internet predictions are simply too easy. Last Monday, on these pages, there was an indication that there would be an increase in malware because of the news of the swine flu problem. Regrettably, this has come true. There has been an increase in spam, phishing, malware and other nefarious online activity.

For this reason, the suppliers of SUPERAntiSpyware were asked if they would extend their promotion with us. They have extended the generous offer to our readers until May 8, 2009 to save ten dollars off the normal purchase price.

The other reason for extending this offer for our readers is that it gives an opportunity to address an issue that one of the commenters raised. There was a question about who in the security community recommended this product. Well, names can be listed and we will do so briefly:

  • Our very own Kat is a four-year Microsoft MVP in the area of Windows Security. Kat has been working on malware-removal forums for nearly seven years now, and is an Administrator at GeeksToGo. She highly recommends this program on a regular basis.
  • Catherine Forsythe and her software assessment group recommends this program. Catherine has been assessing security programs for over a decade now.
  • Mike Healan from the original SpywareInfo site and newsletter began recommending this product when it was first introduced.
  • Sean Roe, another Microsoft MVP and owner of 247Fixes calls SAS an excellent program.
  • All of the malware-removal websites that are “heavy hitters” in this field recommend this program to their users. The list of sites includes (but is far from limited to): GeeksToGo, BleepingComputer, SypwareInfoForum, and What the Tech.

We could go on and on, but there should be a point made here. No security program is absolutely faultless. Given the nature of the internet and the pace of infections, absolute guarantees just do not happen. However, that being said, pains are taken to recommend the very best available. There may be disputes about which program is the most effective and that is bound to happen. What is recommended has been vetted thoroughly by literally hundreds of Experts in this field on a regular basis. Each and every one of them still recommends this program to literally thousands of people every single day.

IF there was a dubious program recommended, the inbox would feel it within hours of the program being featured. This does not happen. One person raised an issue. Nevertheless, let there be no doubt whatsoever that computer security and keeping your data safe are taken seriously here. It would be wonderful if no security products were needed. That is not going to happen any time soon. Therefore, we present serious security software to our readers and do hope that, with the good prices, some time and focus will be paid to keeping the computer safe. It matters because it can impact upon you and then others online.