Fake anti-spyware programs: are you at the risk

One cannot ignore the activities of a malicious software on a computer. Malicious software can slow down processes, making life uneasy for the operator of the computer. Not only does the presence of a malicious software inconveniences your work, it also makes you lose trust in your computer in that it is not wise to put in sensitive information into an already infected computer. Other redundancies that may come with the presence of an infected computer are the loss of data, irregular activities of browser and other software could lead to time wasted, and so a malicious software could eventually brick (damage beyond repair) your computer.

Hence, it is imperative to get antimalware that would help protect your computer. Antimalware are created to help a computer owner to protect the computer from computer health risk. A good antimalware should monitor your device continuously 24/7 against security attacks that can be found on the internet. This software should in no way have an adverse effect on the security of the computer, instead, it should always be a guard against threats and viruses. But today, cybercriminals have found a way to make clones of genuine anti-malware and uploaded them to the internet for the consumption of the general public. Sometimes it may not be cloned, some cyber criminals may even develop an antivirus that looks genuine that would produce their desired results.

What results would a hacker want from creating a fake antivirus?

  1. Ignorance:

The hackers know that most people would not bother to routinely check the security status of their computer after downloading and installing an antivirus. The popular belief of antimalware consumers is that they are completely covered by the software and so they need not worry. Hence, the cybercriminal would leverage on the school of thought and ensure the antivirus appears to be running in the background, even give notifications if it may, but the other side that the user is ignorant of is that the software downloaded is actually reporting every activity you perform on your computer to its develop.

  1. Trust:

Some consumers trust in the antivirus software so much that whatever recommendation the software gives to help protect their computer, they are willing to follow. Even if it is to pay to download another software. Knowing this, hackers use the antivirus software to get private information from the unsuspecting victim by putting up a notification through the antivirus software and recommending a “Best solution” that would involve purchasing another software. Once the victim agrees to this solution and enters his credit card details, the information gotten would be saved on the hacker’s database, leaving the victim at his mercy.

  1. Entry:

The best way to gain entry into a private computer is by installing a software that has a Trojan horse virus embedded in it. A Trojan horse virus is one that looks like a legitimate software on the surface but its true intent is to mislead individuals into downloading a virus into their computer. The term Trojan is derived from the Ancient Greek account of the invasion of the city of Troy by stealth, where the Greek gave the people of troy a piece offering of a wooden horse that had soldiers hidden within it. When the soldiers of troy slept, the soldiers in the wooden horse came out and killed every single one of the Troy men. This method is an easier way of hacking into a computer even when the victim is not on the same network as you are. That is why it is the choice of cyber criminals.

How do I stay safe?

It is getting increasingly difficult to differentiate between the original genuine antispyware and the fake infected ones. Especially if you are one who is looking to download the free versions of the software on the internet. Knowing this I have been able to compile a list of the fake antispyware found on the internet, there is still more fake software that could be found the internet, the list below shows the few I have had contact recently:

 

  • Anti-virus Security Pro
  • Adware Hitman
  • Adware Pro
  • AdWare Pro 2009
  • AntiMalware Suite
  • AntiWorm2008
  • Core security
  • Easy spyware cleaner
  • Essential cleaner
  • PAL Spyware Remover
  • Spy Sheriff
  • World AntiSpy

The best way to protect yourself from this malicious software that acts as spyware is to avoid downloading from unverified websites. Even the genuine software can be cloned for the use of a cyber criminal, hence the best website to download any software is from the manufacturer website itself. You can stay rest assured that your software would not do your computer harm.

 

 


How to remove Windows Virtual Firewall

Malicious software as we know it has taken a new turn, in that they are looking more genuine these days than ever before. They put up user interface and impressions that look so convincing that user would think the instructions gotten are genuine and should be followed as soon as possible. An example is the Windows Virtual Firewall. Just like every other malicious software, the windows virtual firewall leverages on the security vulnerabilities of your browser to get into your computer. Once it gets into your computer, the software installs itself and puts up an interface that pretends to be scanning for malicious software. At the end of the scan, the malicious software shows security vulnerabilities in the computer and also persuade the user into buying a software to reduce the risk. Any attempt to purchase the software recommended by the Windows Virtual Firewall software would only give hackers and cyber criminals access to your private information like your Credit Card number.

How does your computer get infected with windows virtual firewall?

  1. A recommendation to download the software may be posted on fake antispyware websites: Not every website on the internet can be trusted, some websites are used for deceiving the user into downloading malicious software and also stealing private information.
  2. The windows virtual firewall malicious software may come along with a cracked software or any software downloaded from an unverified site as a Trojan. Trojans are software that appears legitimate but are harmful to the security of your computer.
  3. Through pop-up adverts that automatically redirect you to a website and download a software regardless of whatever you click on, even if you click the “close” button.
  4. Through the security vulnerabilities of your browser, the malicious software can get into your computer through the loopholes in the browser security.

How do you know if your computer is infected?

It is easy to know when your system is infected with the Windows Virtual Firewall malware, simply watch out for this symptoms:

  1. A window opens constantly to warn you about the security vulnerabilities of your computer and the solution is to pay for an Upgrade of the Software or To purchase another software to handle the malware found.
  2. The malware would hijack your browser and change the settings, restricting you to a particular homepage, search engine and also restricting the websites you can visit.
  3. The software would also make an attempt to change the look of your computer’s desktop screen.

How do you prevent your computer from being infected?

Security structures can never be over emphasized when it comes to protecting your devices from the internet. Building a strong structure is very important. The following actions should be put in place to prevent your computer from being infected with Windows Virtual Firewall and other malicious software:

  1. Get an antimalware and antivirus that would monitor your computer all day. I usually recommend the Norton 360 package, this software comes with a full internet security structure, an antivirus, and an antimalware. The software package would scan your websites, links and attachments in emails and notify you if it is safe to interact with them. This is necessary because, as said earlier malicious software are looking more genuine.
  2. Do not download files and software from untrusted sources.
  3. Download only trusted antimalware, antispyware and antivirus software only. Especially those with good reviews do not convince by the pop-up ads that show on your windows screen

How do you handle a Windows Virtual Firewall infection??

The good news is that the Windows Virtual Firewall can be completely eliminated from your computer. To do so, simply follow these steps:

  1. Use the Norton antivirus recommended above to scan your computer for a virus, malware, and spyware. Once the scan is completed, the Windows Virtual Firewall file would most likely be found in the result of security threats. Proceed by instructing the antivirus to delete the threats completely from the computer.
  2. The second method of removing the Windows Virtual Firewall malware from your computer is by doing so manually. To delete the malware manually follow these steps:

Step 1: Delete the root file by:

  1. Press CTRL-ALT-DEL together
  2. Open Task Manager

iii.    Click on “More Details”

  1. Scroll down the processes till you find these “Protector-[RANDOM CHARACTERS]” process
  2. Right click and open file location
  3. Go back and delete the entire folder

The internet is a risky environment for the less security savvy individuals, protect yourself today by studying more on preventive methods of protecting your computer.


Browser hijacker: removal and prevention

Imagine you get back to your home one day from work, only to meet your living room arranged in a way different from how you left it that morning. The color of the wall is different, your chairs are different, even your TV is different. It does not just end there, you decide to ignore the changes for the time being and relax to your favorite TV show as you are too tired to think. And as the TV comes on you realize it is tuned into a channel you have never seen, and every attempt you put into changing the channel only returns you back to the strange channel. What in the world happened in my absence you start to wonder.

A browser hijack is completely similar to that scenario, the hijacking software completely changes the default settings of your browser, including home page, default search engine, and it even opens pages abruptly without you consenting to it. It gets really annoying as you would find it difficult to focus on your work as multiple tabs and windows keep opening and you just have to close them one after the other. The pages that open up vary and are not related to any central theme in specific. My browser was once hijacked and the type of pages were pages with offers, E – commerce websites and some pop up “Click here for…” kind of adverts.

Why would a hacker hijack my browser you may be wondering, well for one thing having control over your browser exposes your activities to the hacker. If the hijack comes with a keylogger, your interactions with websites would be recorded too, and these could pose a security threat. Another reason the hijacker would want to take over your browser is to rack up impressions on the websites that open abruptly. Impressions serve as a means advertisers and advertising companies use to judge the effectiveness of any website, a site with high impressions imply that there is something interesting on the pages that attracts people, and so advertising company would pay top dollar to place ads on such sites. In order to make money off the website, the hacker would force the website to open on your browser, the opening of the website on your browser would increase the impression counter by one. Another reason is to have records of user search queries, the hijack would change the default search engine to something different. Whenever a search query is entered into this search engine, it is recorded and saved in a database, the result that shows is based on what the hackers want you to see.

In all a browser hijack is the worse threat to your privacy on the internet. Even if you have more than one browser on your computer, if one is infected chances are so also are the other browsers. And so it is imperative we talk about the structures you can put in place to prevent these threats and if you are already infected we would get to methods of removing the hack immediately after.

How to Prevent a Browser Hijack:

  1. Get an Internet Security software:

A good internet security software would help scan your computer in real time in order to avoid threats that may harm your system. The Norton internet security software would even go as far as letting you know how safe or unsafe the page you are about to visit is. It also helps scan attachments in the emails before downloading. You may not be 100% security conscious on the internet, but having a good internet security software running on your end would surely go a long way keeping your privacy.

  1. Suspect everything you see on the internet:

There are so many flashy good deals / interesting things that appear on the internet. One may be tempted to keep clicking on these links at first sight. But what only a few people know is there may be an adverse consequence to such actions. Some free downloaded software comes with spyware and when you decide to install the software, you, in turn, install the malware that comes with.

  1. Read between the lines of End User License Agreements of software before downloading:

Some software has it included in the text of the EULA that downloading the software would also download an additional software that would make adjustments to your browser settings. If the source is not genuine, please do not agree to such downloads.

  1. Keep your browser software up to date at all times:

Browser software companies research how best to update the security settings of the browser. And so, every new update comes with an increased security than the previous version.

 

If your computer is already infected with the Malware, protecting your privacy and removing the malware should be your next line of action.

How to remove a Browser Hijack virus:

  1. Download an antivirus that would scan your entire system and detect any type of Malware. If you already have one that works for you, update the software and scan the entire system all over again.
  2. Disable any add-on or extension that may seem strange in your browser. Depending on your browser, follow this steps to do so:

For Mozilla:

Step 1: Open Mozilla

Step 2: Open the Menu

Step 3: Select add on

Step 4: look out for suspicious add-ons or extension and disable them.

Step 5: Reset your homepage and browser back to default.

For Chrome:

Step 1: Click on the customize chrome button located on the upper right of the chrome window

Step 2:  Click on extensions, this can be found above settings on the left of the screen.

Step 3: look out for suspicious add-ons or extension and disable them.

  1. Download any antimalware software that has a lot of positive reviews, keeping in mind the advice stated earlier before downloading over the internet.

The browser hijack virus may look harmless on the surface, but just like every other Malware, what happens on the surface is nothing compared to what is going on underneath. Protect yourself today, be proactive when it comes to your computer security.