Tag Archives: virus

Computer Security That Doesn’t Slow Down Your Computer

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Vipre for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

TComputer Security That Doesn't Slow Down Your ComputerLast week I installed a better Internet security application than I’d been using on my Windows test system.

As I described at the time, VIPRE Internet Security 2013’s installation process was clear and simple, and my first test of the software’s functionality returned improved results over a competing solution I’d installed prior to testing. I mentioned that I’d be reporting my experience with the computer security program after testing it further. Now that’s I’ve been using VIPRE for a week, here are my findings.

Computer Security That Doesn’t Slow Down My Computer

As I mentioned last week, many anti-virus solutions are notorious for slowing down PCs. This is mainly because much of the computer security software developers feel the need to add what many would say unnecessary features to their software. More features usually results in more resources being used up by the application, in some cases slowing your computer to a crawl. Why do vendors feel the need to continuously add features? Because they want to continue to selling new versions of their software, and they recognize (incorrectly, in some cases) that consumers tend to see the latest versions of an application as somehow improved over prior versions. It’s often necessary to release a new version of software every year or so due to various circumstances.

The introduction of Windows 8, for example, has required many developers to make some major interface changes to their programs so that the software will fit both aesthetically and functionally into the new operating system’s Metro UI. Consumers expect these types of alterations, and most often their pleased when the look and feel of an application matches the look and feel of the OS they’re working with every day. Yet on occasion, developers seem to pay more attention to the overall impression their apps deliver at the cost of functionality.

Computer Security That Doesn't Slow Down Your ComputerIn the case of VIPRE, GFI Software (the developers of the VIPRE line of computer security software) seems to have focused on delivering the best functionality it can to consumers. And in doing this, it turned out a program that is as efficient in appearance as it is in executing its tasks. As I mentioned last week, the software is simple and elegant in appearance. More important, the interface is intuitive — it took me no time at all to dive right in and run a deep scan of my system (which was completed in record time, compared to another app I used).

Over the course of the past week I used my PC more actively than I have in quite some time. I’ve installed a number of new applications, visited some well-known “malicious” websites that have tried to infect my computer through my browser, and VIPRE has caught every instance of a threat to my PC. I’ve played some fairly resource-intensive games on my computer and performed some tasks that I know require some heavy lifting (such as multimedia production). I’m pleased to report that I’ve experienced no noticeable performance hits to my system. Apparently, the programmers at GFI know how to build computer security software that won’t slow down your computer.

VIPRE Includes Enterprise-Level Computer Security Features

TComputer Security That Doesn't Slow Down Your ComputerOne thing I failed to mention in my review last week was a feature I hadn’t known about at the time. VIPRE provides automatic application patching, a feature usually only found in enterprise-level computer security solutions. This is an extremely useful feature to have, since many computer users (even the most cautious and tech-savvy, such as myself) tend to put off installing the latest patches (security fixes) because we’re so wrapped up in other tasks (such as testing out new software).

Though I have my Windows PCs set to automatically download and install the latest patches as soon as they become available, writers of viruses and scripts (programs) take advantage of exploits they find in other popular applications computer users are likely to have installed on their systems. By building in automatic updating of many of the most popular applications VIPRE detects you have installed on your system, GTI Software stands out from the pack of consumer-level anti-virus applications. The program also reminds you to update your software to their latest versions if you haven’t already done so. This proactive approach is comforting, to say the least.

Most consumers have to pay a hefty expense for enterprise-level anti-virus suites in order to take advantage of this feature (and without this feature, many consumers end up paying a hefty expense when their systems become infected because they forgot to update their applications).

Computer Security That Comes at a Fair Price

Computer Security That Doesn't Slow Down Your ComputerAnother thing that I failed to mention last week is the price of the computer security software. One license of VIPRE Internet Security 2013 will set you back $49.99. This is a fair price for everything the program has to offer, but check this out: a license to install the application on up to 10 different PCs costs only $20 more. Now that’s what I call a deal. Many of us have more than one computer system at our disposal, and being able to have all of them protected as thoroughly as this software does for $69.99 is basically unbeatable.

You can even purchase lifetime protection for $299.99, which may sound like a pretty penny if you’re only using two computers, but the cost of losing data due to an infection would cost far more than $300 for most users who rely on their computers. We’re giving away a free 1-year license to VIPRE Internet Security 2013 to a random reader who posts a comment stating why they would use VIPRE as opposed to using nothing at all. So get in on the giveaway and post your comments — you can’t win if you don’t play!

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Is That Website Safe?


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Aaron has recorded this screencast to show all of you how to figure out if a website you want to visit is safe or not. McAfee’s SiteAdvisor doesn’t require any downloads, and will give you a detailed report along with your green (or red!) light.

Not only does the report give you a red or green light, it also includes demographic information such as the country the site is located in and how popular it is. If there are downloads available on the web page, McAfee has already tested each and every one to be sure that it’s clean and free of malware.

Customer (visitor) commentary adds a nice touch to your report. See what others are saying about their experience visiting that site. You can become a member for free and add your thoughts to any web site report that you find.

You will find a handy little graph that shows you what other sites are affiliated with the site in question, as well as being able to quickly tell if they are “green” or not. When checking out my main site, you’ll find links off to my live page, Lockergnome and various other sites that I maintain. As I would expect, all of my sites have a green light.

Lastly, you’ll be able to see exactly what annoyances a site may hold – such as popups. The team at McAfee has built this excellent tool to help you learn how to stay safe online, and to alert you to potential dangers before you ever click that link.

Thanks to Aaron for this excellent tutorial.

Want to embed this video on your own site, blog, or forum? Use this code or download the video:

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Is Your Computer Part of a Botnet in the US?

During the first half of 2010, more than two million computers in the United States alone were found to be part of a botnet. Microsoft performed the research, which showed that Brazil had the second highest level of infections at 550,000. The country hit hardest is South Korea, where 14.6 out of every 1000 machines were found to be enrolled in botnets.

Cliff Evans is the head of security and identity in the UK. “Most people have this idea of a virus and how it used to announce itself,” he said. “Few people know about botnets.” Botnets start when a virus infects a computer, either through spam or an infected web page. The virus puts the Windows machine under the control of a botnet herder. “Once they have control of the machine they have the potential to put any kind of malicious code on there,” said Mr Evans. “It becomes a distributed computing resource they then sell on to others.”

The stats for the report were gathered from more than 600 million machines which are enrolled in Microsoft’s various update services or use its Essentials and Defender security packages. The conclusions of the report show that people need to be much more vigilant. You have to keep yourself well protected against threats of any kind. Even though they’re a pain, you need to apply your Windows updates when they become available, keep programs updated (such as Java) and make sure that you understand security basics.

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.

Computer Malware: There's a Facebook App for That

The newly-published results of the 2010 Consumer Reports State of the Net survey are interesting, to say the least. While much of the findings discuss privacy in general, one item that was glossed over stood out to me. According to the study:

Of the estimated 18.4 million adult Facebook users who used apps (games and quizzes), 38 percent were either confident apps were secure or hadn’t thought about it. Meanwhile, a projected 1.8 million computers were infected by apps obtained through one or another social network in the past year.

Nearly two million computers were infected with malware from apps on sites such as Facebook. It boggles my mind that this was glossed over. Some of the infections may consist “only” of adware or other mostly-harmless (just annoying!) junk, many of them are likely far more dangerous. Some pieces of malware will dig into your computer without your ever knowing it and then proceed to steal your information. Still other types will use your computer as a part of botnet… attacking innocent sites and people.

With the risk of becoming infected being so great these days, I would think there would be a way for sites like Facebook to regulate the apps they allow. Sure, there is a “disclaimer” whenever you add an app to your profile. However, it just seems to me that more can – and SHOULD – be done to help keep site users safe. Heck, if FB isn’t going to police these apps, at least do something to warn users more clearly about the potential dangers.

When you’re surfing around your favorite social site installing things, please make sure you’re smart about it. Check out the source of the application, and research them. Are there complaints running around the web which talk of malware being installed or found with that app? Go one step further and ASK for other opinions before you click to allow access to something new. What are others saying about that little game or quiz?

As always, make sure you keep your machine protected with proper Windows updates and security software. Trust your instincts… not your lust for the newest time-wasting game.

McAfee Mess Could Cost Millions

In the antivirus industry, false positives run amok. No matter which vendor you choose to buy from, you’re going to have the occasional hiccup. Those small snafus are usually easily sorted out, with minimal downtime or expense. Once in a while, though, someone falls asleep at the wheel and all hell breaks loose. Such was the case with McAfee on Wednesday.

The company rolled out an update that took down Windows XP computers around the world. The company then issued a statement claiming that “less than .005% of McAfee users were hit by the update,” which misidentified a legitimate SP function as a virus and killed it. The results were computers locked in a reboot loop. Unfortunately, it appears that there are many thousands of computers affected by this disaster… adding up to a far higher percentage than McAfee is apparently willing to admit.

Solera Networks, a supplier of network forensics technology, says it helped one large U.S. multi-national company quickly determine that the poisonous update from McAfee threw 50,000 of its PCs into a rebooting frenzy. McAfee advised the company that “remediation time is estimated to be 30 minutes per user, ” says Solera CEO Steve Shillingford. “Estimating $100 per hour, this organization’s lost time alone can be conservatively estimated to cost more than $2.5 million,” says Shillingford. “And that does not factor in lost productivity while users are down.” The fix issued by McAfee is a long and arduous one, likely not to be attempted by computer novices.

Others affected by the so-called “false positive situation” include hospitals, police departments, major universities and retail stores. Hospitals in Rhode Island had to refuse treatment for all but life-threatening situations. State police officers in Kentucky were without computers in their patrol cars while the IT department scrambled to fix machines. Australian supermarket behemoth Coles was hit so hard that 10 percent of its point-of-sales terminals were taken down. The company was forced to shut down stores in both western and southern parts of the country.

McAfee apparently sent an email to their larger enterprise customers to explain the situation. According to documents sent to Ed Bott, thorough testing was not even done prior to the update being released. The email admits that “Some specific steps of the existing Quality Assurance processes were not followed: Standard Peer Review of the driver was not done, and the Risk Assessment of the driver in question was inadequate” and that “there was inadequate coverage of Product and Operating System combinations in the test systems used. Specifically, XP SP3 with VSE 8.7 was not included in the test configuration at the time of release.”

This blows my mind. Windows XP SP3 is the most widely-used configuration in the enterprise desktop environment. I fail to understand how such a key testing phase could have just been “overlooked” or bypassed.

The most troubling aspect of the entire situation is McAfee’s seemingly cavalier attitude towards the event. The company apologized in a blog post on Thursday, but little has been said about the entire subject. Meanwhile, customers are complaining loudly all over the McAfee community forums, and they want answers. One commenter called for McAfee to “man up and own up to what happened, instead of trying to sugar-coat it and make it seem as though this is no big deal.”

It will be interesting to watch how this will play out as more information comes to light. I have a feeling we have only just begun to hear about the full effect the McAfee mess had on customers all over the world.

Popular Site Becomes Alleged Source of Malware

The bad news is that there are reports that another popular site was hit with malware. Allegedly, some visitors to the popular Drudge Report came away with a malware infection. You see the word “allegedly” used here because there is some dispute about the actual source of the infection:

“Matt Drudge denied that his site was infecting visitors, however it’s likely that the malware is coming from ads delivered by a third-party ad network and not the site itself.”

For the site visitor, it is really not important whether the source of the infection is the site itself or the advertising. The salient point is that people are being infected by malware. And that can lead to a variety of problems – from identity theft to an unauthorized use of the computer for spam to a whole load of time wasted.

It is not safe even by just going to the popular sites that have plenty of traffic. The cyber-criminals/hackers want to exploit that traffic and those popular sites become targets. This has been demonstrated over and over again.

If you are on the Internet, you have to take security precautions. There is no other alternative, except to stay offline.

The good news is that there are security programs that are effective in providing protection from this online trash. We are recommending SUPERAntiSpyware for your computer security.

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 March 17, 2010.

This is a program that is highly recommended within the security community. It has over 20 million users worldwide. People who work on these pages use it and recommend it, too. Recommend this to your friends and family. We are trying to make it as easy and as economical as possible for our readers and their friends to protect themselves and your computers. When you have this program, use it – update the security protection offered and use it!

Malware Delivered by Any Means

It is really despicable. There is no low to which hackers and criminals won’t stoop to deliver malware to you. As many of you know, recently there was a tragedy at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Nodar Kumaritashvili, a luger from the former Soviet republic of Georgia, died in a crash during a training run. Criminals have used that incident to deliver malware through bogus tribute sites, news sites, videos and so forth.

These people have no scruples.

During the Olympics, you may want to keep up with your favorite Olympic sport. That works to the hackers’ advantage. You may want to follow a news item of some recent political story. That works to the hackers’ advantage. Whatever generates traffic, these criminals will take advantage of the opportunity.

We want our readers to protect themselves. This malware junk is intended to ambush people online. It does not matter where you go now online. Simply being online is a danger, and security precautions should be taken. And every machine that you use should be protected.

Every machine that you use to go online, no matter how briefly, has to be protected. Even if you have a machine that you do not put online, it should be protected. You may sync your other computers to this machine that you keep offline and some malware may slip onto your system. Because we strongly recommend protecting all your machines, we are recommending the award winning security offered by Spyware Doctor.

“Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus is a top-rated malware, spyware & virus removal utility that detects, removes and protects your PC from thousands of potential spyware, adware, trojans, viruses, keyloggers, spybots and tracking threats.” It has won numerous awards and Spyware Doctor is good for “Microsoft Windows 7 (32bit, 64bit), Windows Vista SP1+ (32bit, 64bit), Windows XP SP2+ (32bit).”

This is one of the premier, well recognized security programs. And PC Tools is allowing three computers to be protected under one license. That means that, for under seventeen dollars each, three computers can be protected from viruses, spyware, malware and other security threats:

This is a bargain to protect every online computer in the house. This means every desktop, laptop, and netbook – everything. This is a bargain to do so. And when you use Spyware Doctor, update the security definitions regularly. It is doubtful that malware will decrease any time soon. Security measures are absolutely necessary – unfortunately.

Stop Spam in Your Email

Some of us who have been on the Internet for a while remember when spam email just wanted to sell you some junk. Some spam still wants to sell you junk, but a good portion of the spam is more dangerous. There are emails that are loaded with malware. And with Valentine’s Day coming, there will be a flood of spam mail. Valentine’s Day is an opportunity for spammers.

The malware found in these emails is intended to steal your personal information and/or turn your computers into a part of a bot-network. The bot network is to spread more spam and more malware.

It is not only special occasions like Valentine’s Day that triggers a flood of spam. A natural disaster, like the Haiti tragedy, or a salacious news story will start an increase in spam.

In 2004, Bill Gates predicted that the spam problem would be solved by 2006. Unfortunately, Bill Gates was wrong – very wrong. You know that a good portion of your email is spam.

What we recommend as a means to handle spam is MailWasher Pro. Over eight million people protect themselves from spam and malware dangers with MailWasher Pro. That number of people grows daily. It is simply one of the best ways available for handling spam mail. One of our security reviewers has used this product daily for almost a decade, so the recommendation for MailWasher Pro comes from years of every day experience with this legendary program. We know this program well.

MailWasher Pro is effective and it is easy to use:

“Apart from being the most effective software to fight spam, you’ll find that MailWasher is probably the easiest anti-spam software to use. We took the view that if we can’t understand how to use a piece of software in under 5 minutes then it’s probably always going to be hard to use. Why try and learn a whole lot of new icons and procedures? You want a program with a minimal learning curve, is easy to use and looks attractive.”

One of the ways that spam is handled by some programs is by means of filters. The problem is that sometimes the filter screens out legitimate email. And sometimes spam by-passes the filters. One of the great features of MailWasher Pro is that it allows the user to preview the email prior to downloading onto the computer. With a brief glance, you will be able to tell what is legitimate email and what is junk. And you do this while the email is not on your computer.

That is one of the great security features of MailWasher Pro – you will be screening your email before you download it onto your computer. Consider this as viewing the mail at the server level instead of handling it while it is on your machine. That is an added level of security. – You decide which email accesses your computer.

Making the decision when the email is on your computer is simply dangerous. For example, at some points during the day, you might be tired or rushed. You may be preoccupied with other things. An error with malware mail leads to a load of problems. Mailwasher Pro allows you to make the decision at the server level – while the email is away from your machine. It is an effective, easy and brilliant way of handling the spam problem. MailWasher Pro works with Windows and is effective for POP3, IMAP, AOL, GMail, Yahoo, and Hotmail.

Stop just downloading your email to Outlook or Outlook Express. Preview it first!
Now, our readers have fifty per cent discount when buying MailWasher Pro. It is a generous, limited time offer, expiring on February 17th, 2010.

Use this coupon code lockerg when ordering.

And one final point… MailWasher Pro has an active support system. It has a live technical support system, as well as a forum. We have been following the development of this program for many years. The founder is a friend of this site and runs a first class operation from New Zealand. There are continual improvements on this excellent program. You will consider MailWasher Pro a “must-have” for every computer you own. And if there is a reason that you don’t like the MailWasher Pro program, there is a 100% money back guarantee. That’s how confident the MailWasher Pro people are about this program.

Build Your Dream Computer

I noticed a post on Lockergnome earlier that made me chuckle a little. The poster asks everyone whether they would buy a Windows machine or a Mac if they had up to one thousand dollars to spend. I can already picture the responses to that question: fanboys on both sides of the coin arguing with each other! However, I have a feeling that some of our more hard-core Geeks will want to just build a machine and slap some flavor of Linux on it!

What would you do if someone handed you a grand and told you to buy any computer you wanted? What would you look at first… and why?

There have been many excellent articles posted in our community today. I hope you didn’t miss out on anything!

Don’t forget to stop by our software center to see what’s new! Don’t miss out on all of the great software deals we have found for you.