PROBLEMS WITH NEIGHBORS

 

A study by the United States Secret Service, which apparently took some time off from protecting the President, found that 32% of all electronic crimes are committed by insiders.  

This goes along with regular crime, which Bob did some articles on years ago and found that criminals committing serious crimes, especially murder, nearly always knew their victims. Looking at the kind of crimes the Secret Service was talking about, it also makes sense that the perpetrators would be familiar with an organization’s computer system and how to circumvent its protection. They could be current employees or recently dismissed employees.  

This fits with the computer viruses that shut down large systems, sometimes very large systems. The virus is almost always acquired by an employee doing something foolish or simply unthinking, such as clicking on a button that says sometime seemingly harmless like “click here to verify your account.” If you don’t know the source of the information, don’t click. Which leads us right into our next topic: dangerous searches. 

 

 

Dangerous Search Terms 

A recent report by McAfee, one of the leading makers of anti-virus software, found that the most dangerous search term to use on the web is “screensavers.”  

Now who would have thought that an innocuous term like screensavers would bring up bad things, like viruses, key loggers and plain old-fashioned scams? But it makes all kinds of sense. Because first of all, screensavers, or “screen savers,” no matter how you spell it, are nearly always free. And everybody loves free stuff, so when you get to the web site and it says “click here for your free screen saver,” well, you have to click or you’re not going to get your freebie.  

The instant you click, it triggers a download of some something, and you have no idea what that something is. It could be a key logger, which will record every keystroke you make from that second forward, including the passwords you are going to type in at some time in the not too distant future, or it could be software that allows your system to be controlled from another location. Not good. 

There’s no point in being completely paranoid about this, though it’s true that even paranoids can have enemies, but a little caution is advisable. McAfee’s research found that nearly 60 percent of the web sites that came up for the search term “screensavers,” were in fact sites set up to transmit bad software, often referred to collectively as “malware,” straight into your computer. The second and third worst results came from searches for “lyrics,” which connected to potentially bad sites 26 percent of the time, and “free,” which found dangerous sites 21 percent of the time. Other dangerous search terms were “iPhone” and “games.” 

Now there’s no need to go nuts and hide in the digital closet; most sites are trustworthy. Most people also know which sites they trust.  After all, your local newspaper or news magazine is not out to cheat you. You can also use protective software. We both use a free program from AVG that posts a warning on screen if the site you are about to go to looks risky. You can get that at grisoft.com. They also sell more comprehensive protection programs. 

If you’re searching for free programs to download – which we often do, it’s best to go to sites like download.com or tucows.com, which test programs before posting them. Sites for leading computer magazines also test programs before listing them for download.

 

Comments are closed.