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Reality Check

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Ctrox | 08 Apr 2010 | 6 comments

In this tough economy, getting something for free is always a good thing, right? Short answer: It depends on your tolerance for risk.
 
Take free antivirus software as an example. It may seem like a bargain, but it’s not. Here are the issues to consider before you download this particular “freeware.”
 
First and foremost, free antivirus software doesn’t provide the comprehensive protection you need against today’s biggest online threats. So when you trust your computer, applications, files and identity to free antivirus software, it can end up costing you more in time, aggravation, and money than you ever imagined.
 
Most free antivirus software is really just bait that some software companies use to lure you in. It’s usually a “light” version of one of their paid products that offers only limited protection against today’s online threats.
 
After you install...

Ctrox | 11 Jan 2010 | 0 comments

The emails arrive bearing subject lines such as “State Vaccination H1N1 Program,” “Governmental registration program on the H1N1 vaccination,” and “Create your personal Vaccination Profile.” Purportedly from the Centers for Disease Control, the messages urge recipients to register for H1N1 vaccinations.

The problem is they’re bogus.

The messages lead users to an official-looking CDC site where they’re asked to create a profile in order to receive a vaccination for the swine flu. The site encourages users to download a vaccination profile archive and includes a link to the download.

Clicking on the link, however, actually downloads and installs a new variant of the “Zbot” Trojan horse. Called “Zeus” by some security companies, the malware is a bot Trojan that hijacks the Windows PC for nefarious activities, including sending out more spam.

It’s just the latest example of the way...

Ctrox | 11 Jan 2010 | 0 comments

Never at a loss to cook up new and ingenious scams, cyber-criminals are using increasingly persuasive online scare tactics to convince users to purchase rogue security software.

Rogue security software, also known as “scareware,” pretends to be legitimate security software but actually provides little or no value and may even install malicious code on a user’s computer.

According to the recently released Symantec Report on Rogue Security Software, there are two main ways in which rogue security software is installed on a computer: either it is downloaded and installed manually by a user after he or she has been tricked into believing that the software is legitimate, or it is unknowingly installed onto a computer when a user visits a malicious website.

Rogue security software is advertised in a variety of locations, including malicious and...