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The Role of Antivirus Software

The purpose of antivirus (AV) software is to detect, neutralize or eradicate malware (malicious software).

6DAV software not only will identify and destroy the computer virus, but it’s also designed to fight off other kinds of threats such as phishing attacks, worms, Trojan horses, rootkits and more.

How does AV software work?

  • It will first scan (either on automatic timer that the user selects or manual) the computer’s files to seek out any viruses that fit the description that’s in a virus dictionary.
  • Using a method called heuristic analysis, it will also try to detect suspicious activity from any program that might seem to be infected.

Antivirus programs come in different flavors, but the common denominator is that they seek out viruses and other malware, and neutralize them.

The computer’s hard drive and external drives are also included in the scanning process.

What’s really important is that you make sure that your AV software is set for automatic updates—and on a daily basis at that—so that any new viruses or malware can be quickly pounced upon and rendered disabled.

Cybercrimes are more prevalent than ever, says the McAfee Threat Report. Check out some findings:

  • Fairly recently (first quarter of 2013) was a time that was the most active, ever, for the entire gamut of malicious software generation.
  • More than 14 million new samples were identified by McAfee.
  • Malware is evolving, becoming savvier. An example is the Zeus malware that gets spread when the user unintentionally downloads it (from being tricked into doing so), or, when the user opens an attachment in an e-mail, not knowing it’s poised to infect his computer. This malware is smart because it evades anti-spam software by presenting as graphics instead of text in the e-mails.
  • Every month means about six million new botnet infections.
  • Between the first and second halves of 2013, new phishing websites doubled in number.
  • Sixty percent of the leading Google search terms returned malicious sites just in the first 100 search results alone.

The key is simply to have antivirus installed, let it run its updates automatically and pay for the annual license. As long as you have it, it will prevent most infections.

Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to TheBestCompanys.com discussing  identity theft prevention. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247. Disclosures.

What is Fake Antivirus Software?

Most of you know how important it is to have security software on your computers to stay protected from viruses, malware, spam and other Internet threats. Unfortunately, cybercriminals also know that it is critical to have security software, and they are using this knowledge to trick us into downloading fake antivirus software that is designed to do harm to your computer.

6DFake antivirus software is one of the most persistent threats on the Internet today. It masquerades as legitimate software, but is actually a malicious program that extorts money from you to “fix” your computer. And often, this new “antivirus” program disables your legitimate security software that you already have, making it challenging to remove.

These rogue programs often hook you while you’re browsing the web by displaying a popup window that warns the user that their computer may be infected. Often, the popup includes a link to download security software that offers to solve the problem, or redirects you to a site that sells the fake antivirus software. It is also often also called scareware since the hackers use messages like “You have a virus,” as a way to get you to click on their message.

Because the idea of having an infected machine is alarming to us—it can mean lost data, time, and money—most of us are eager to get rid of any potential problems, and this is what has made the bad guys who make fake antivirus software so successful.

And once you agree to the purchase, the cybercriminals end up with your credit card details and other personal information, and you get nothing but malware in return.

So here’s some steps you can take to protect yourself from the bad guys:

  • Never click on a link in a popup window. If you see a message pop up that says you have a virus or are infected, click the “x” in the corner to close it.
  • If you are concerned that your computer may be infected, run a scan using the legitimate security software you have installed on your device.
  • Make sure you have comprehensive security installed on all your devices, like McAfee LiveSafe™ service, which protects all your PCs Macs, tablets, and smartphones from online threats as well as safeguarding your data and identity.

While it is frightening to think that your computer may be infected, don’t fall for fake alerts that could compromise your personal and financial information. Take a minute to run a scan using your trusted security software rather than give more money to the bad guys.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked!  Disclosures.

Most People Don’t Understand Cyber Threats

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

Michael Chertoff, who ran the Department of Homeland Security from 2005 to 2009, says there’s a reason that computer security isn’t up to the threat posed by cyber criminals: Doing it right is too complicated for most people.

“You have to offer people solutions that they are comfortable with,” he said.

Cybercrime is a huge problem that the majority of people who have a connection to the internet aren’t prepared to deal with.

While securing ones PC isn’t a daunting task once you understand the process. For most people, protecting ones PC is beyond the capacity of most computer users. The main issue is that the companies that develop this technology aren’t effective at explaining how things work in simple terms.

Educating users on the terminology is like learning a second language and for most people is near impossible due to life’s existing constraints. Which means technology companies have to do a better job of providing solutions that people are comfortable with that require little or no additional skills.

Here is an attempt at increasing your security vocabulary:

1. Run Windows Update: Or it may be called “Microsoft Update” on your PC. This is a free update to your operating system that Microsoft provides. There are two ways to access this. Either click “Start” then “All Programs”, scroll up the menu and look for the link “Windows Update or Microsoft Update.” Click on it. Your browser (Internet Explorer) by default will launch taking you right to Microsoft’s Windows Update web page and will begin the process of looking at your PC and checking to see what security patches you don’t have. Follow the prompts and click “Express” and let it lead you in the direction it wants. The goal here is for XP to end up with “Service Pack 3” installed. Or go to “Control Panel” and seek out “Security Center.” And click “Turn on Automatic Updates” and let Microsoft do this automatically. In Vista the process is similar and your goal is “Service Pack 1.

2. Install Anti-Virus: Most PCs come with bundled anti-virus that runs for free for 6 months to a year. Then you just re-up the license. If you don’t, then every day that the anti-virus isn’t updated, is another opportunity for criminal hackers to turn your PC into a Zombie that allows your computer to be a Slave sending out more viruses to other PCs and turning your PC into a Spambot selling Viagra.

3. Install Spyware Removal Software: Most anti-virus providers define spyware as a virus now. However, it is best to run a spyware removal program monthly to make sure your PC is rid of software that may allow a criminal hacker to remotely monitor you’re keystrokes, websites visited and the data on your PC.

4. Run Firefox: Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is clunky and the most hacked software on the planet. Mozillas Firefox is less hacked and more secure. Maintain the default settings keep the pop-up blockers and phishing filters on.

5. Secure Your Wireless: If you are running an unsecured wireless connection at home or the office, anyone can jump on your network from 300-500 feet away and access your files. Serious. The router has instruction on how to set up WEP or WPA security. WPA is more secure. If this is a foreign language to you, then hire someone or get your 15 year old to do it.

6. Install a Firewall: Microsoft’s operating system comes with a built in firewall. But it is not very secure. Go with a 3rd party firewall that is prepackaged with anti-virus software.

7. Use Strong Passwords: Little yellow stickys on your monitor with your passwords isn’t good. Use upper case, lower case, alpha-numeric passwords that you change up every 6 months.

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing hacked email on Fox News.