Tricks that Could Potentially Open Up Your Computer
to Attacks by Malicious Software
A recent study conducted by North Carolina State University
psychology researchers found that most Internet users
are susceptible to tricks that could potentially open them up
to attacks by malicious software.
A common way that bad guys try to trick you into installing malicious software
on your computer is to use a fake pop-up warning.
Usually this warning is about something being wrong with your PC,
such as a virus or spyware being found.
The window is made to look a lot like a Windows dialog
(although there are usually telltale signs that you might be able to
spot--such as the title bar including "Internet Explorer").
Clicking an OK button, or even a Cancel or Close button,
on such a fake warning might install malicious software on your PC.
Some of this malicious software is so called "scareware",
which tries to scare you into buying their supposed virus cleaner
by telling you that you have a lot of viruses or spyware
(which do not exist on your PC or are actually legitimate files on your PC).
By the way, the supposed virus cleaner either does nothing good or
installs other spyware.
If you ever get such a fake warning,
use the window close button
(the X in the upper right corner)
to close the window;
do not click any buttons on the window,
not even a Cancel or Close button.
Another common way to try to trick you is to get you
to install a supposed CODEC (multimedia compressor/decompressor)
to view a video (or listen to an audio) file.
This was real common a few weeks ago with spam e-mail messages
purporting to come from CNN and later
(when people got wise to the fake CNN updates),
MSNBC, that were getting it past the spam filters.
Our managed care customers do not need to install any CODEC;
we already install a pack of (trusted) CODECs
(and keep them updated)
that will allow viewing just about any multimedia content
from the Internet
(assuming that you have a business need to view such multimedia content).
When faced with a pop-up warning, participants in the university study
pressed the "OK" button in hopes the message would just go away.
The study found that participants failed to recognize
fake Internet popup warning messages.
The fake messages said “Application Error – Microsoft Internet Explorer”
at the top while real messages simply said “error.”
Most of the time, participants clicked an “OK” button
in the error messages instead of closing them
using the "X" in the upper right corner.
After the study, 42 percent of participants reported
that they just wanted to “get rid of” the message.
This may suggest that the annoyance of the pop-ups
had something to do with the unsafe clicking behavior.
Pop-up messages can be annoying.
But, be safe out there and use the windows close button
to get rid of the pop-up dialog window.
Find out more about our managed care service.
To find out how vulnerable your network is
schedule a free network security analysis today.