Author Topic: Virus Warnings  (Read 9100 times)

Martin

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Virus Warnings
« on: November 15, 2009, 03:43 PM »
What is this all about?
A number of people using this forum have received emails from friends in the last few days warning them about terrible viruses that are going around and asking them to pass the warning on to others.

Should you be worried about these warnings? What should you do? If you receive such warnings, should you pass them on?

Please do NOT pass these warnings on. They are hoaxes!

The recent warning mentions two threats - a trojan hidden in an email claiming to show photos of Osama Bin Laden and a virus called "invitation" hidden in an email about the Olympic Torch.

If you read this page:
http://www.hoax-slayer.com/invitation-bin-laden-virus-warning.html
it will explain the history behind this hoax email.

There was at one time a trojan being sent in emails about Bin Laden, but that was a number of years ago and is no longer happening. The Bin Laden story has been added to another warning about a non-existent "invitation" virus. The warnings claim that the virus will burn your hard drive, which simply cannot happen.

How can I spot a hoax warning email?
Although different hoax emails go round from time to time, they follow similar patterns.
 - They often claim to have been verified by Snopes.com or hoax-slayer.com.
 - They often make claims such as that the virus has been classified by Microsoft as "the most destructive virus ever".
 - They often claim that the warning has originated from McAfee or AOL or some other established name, in order to give it apparent credibility.
 - They often contain lots of capital letters or large type.
 - They always ask you to pass the warning on to everyone you know.
 - There are no genuine warnings being sent around in this manner.

You could check on Symantec's website to see if it is the list of known hoaxes:
http://www.symantec.com/business/security_response/threatexplorer/risks/hoaxes.jsp
You could search at Hoax Slayer http://www.hoax-slayer.com or Snopes http://www.snopes.com to see whether it is mentioned on those sites.
In almost every case, you will find that the warning is a hoax and that you can relax.

What should I do if I receive an email virus warning?
Do nothing! Do not pass it on! The only "virus" is the spread of the hoax.
These hoaxes have been made up by sick people, at some point in the past, who appeared to get some fun out of causing unnecessary panic. Don't panic! Don't be fooled!

But what about real viruses?
There are real threats out there, but you won't receive any emails warning you about them. You need to be aware of how you might pick up something nasty, so that it won't cause you any problems.

Most people receive unexpected emails from people they have never heard of. Some may have attachments and some may have links to web pages.
- Never open attachments unless you know the person it comes from and you were expecting them to send it.
(Be wary of any unexpected email with an attachment even if it appears to come from someone you do know. You can always play safe and email them to ask if they have really just sent you an attachment or link.)
- Never follow links on emails from people you don't know. They could be to web pages that are infected with malicious files.
If you get an email telling you about some amazing news story, don't let your curiosity get the better of your wariness - look on a reputable news site such as http://news.bbc.co.uk to see if the news appears there.
 - Ignore emails that say "click here to view images".
 - Ignore emails telling you about a message you didn't send that couldn't be delivered and inviting you to click a link to see what the message was.
 - Ignore emails that appear to be from a bank or well-known sites such as Facebook, Ebay or Paypal telling you that there has been a problem with your account. Do not click on the links. If you hover your mouse over the link you can see where the link really goes. Sometimes, the link has been disguised to make it look at first glance as if it is to the real site, such as www .facebook.com.blah.blah.kinrqhfud.net/njd7urnfy.htm which would really go to a website called kinrqhfud.net not to facebook.com - emails like this are probably "phishing" scams trying to get you to give out your bank details.
 - Ignore emails telling you that you have won a prize in a lottery or competition that you have not entered or asking for help to transfer money out of somewhere like Nigeria. These will also be scams to part you with money.

Whenever you get any such suspicious email, don't worry about it - just delete it!

Belt and Braces!
Lastly, if you follow the advice above you are unlikely to pick up any viruses, but it is still essential to have an anti-virus program on your computer that is updated each day you are online, just in case something slips past you.

There are perfectly good free anti-virus programs available such as AVG http://free.grisoft.com/ or Avast http://www.avast.com/eng/free_virus_protectio.html

I have written a lot more on this subject on this page:
http://www.ashton-under-lyne.com/internetguide/viruses.htm
Martin

jaywit

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Re: Virus Warnings
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2009, 04:00 PM »
As usual,a cool head prevails.

Vanessa

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Re: Virus Warnings
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2009, 05:31 PM »
Always amazes me when I ask someone about their anti-virus and they say they don't have it, then a week later they are complaining that they have had to pay a fortune to de bug their computer or even scrap it. I usually say "well I did warn you". I use Kaspersky as I'm a bit neurotic when it comes to online safety, but I have used the free programmes in the past, I just found the pop ups irritating. I used to have Norton, it was free with BT, but it started to do weird things with my computer so when BT dropped it I went to Kaspersky and found it very good.

Vanessa

Martin

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Re: Virus Warnings
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2009, 06:17 PM »
I have used the free programmes in the past, I just found the pop ups irritating.

I get no pop-ups with AVG Free. All I get is a little advert at the bottom of the Control Panel inviting me to upgrade to the paid-for version. I can easily live with that.
Martin

Meg

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Re: Virus Warnings
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2009, 07:34 PM »
I also use AVG Free download and, touch wood, have never had any problems. I have received two virus warnings in the last two days which I have deleted right away.
"Minds are like parachutes, they only function when open"  Thomas Dewar

Vanessa

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Re: Virus Warnings
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2009, 08:42 PM »
And another thing, don't forget your firewall, you don't want the b***ards getting into your computer.
Though I liked the free anti-virus download everything is done automatic on the paid versions, mine updates several times a day, haven't had a virus warning since I installed it.
Going on to defragmenting a good free one is Defraggler, much better than the windows version.

Vanessa

Martin

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Re: Virus Warnings
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2009, 09:07 PM »
Quite right, Vanessa. I have links to two recommended free firewalls on the page:
http://www.ashton-under-lyne.com/internetguide/viruses.htm

Only install one of them, though, and switch the Windows firewall off. You can only have one firewall operating at a time. Either of them is better than the Windows firewall. Pre-Vista the Windows firewall doesn't even monitor outgoing activity.

There are links to Defraggler and lots of other good free software oj this page:
http://www.ashton-under-lyne.com/internetguide/freesoftware.htm
Martin

herby

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Re: Virus Warnings
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2009, 11:57 PM »
Hi
             I've had A V G  for four years and never had any trouble at all with it If you use use your loaf you can keep out of trouble. Just follow Martins instructions
                                                                               herby

Nan

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Re: Virus Warnings
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2010, 05:01 PM »
I have been using AVG Free for some time now with no problems. Until now that is!! I turned on my pc 10 days ago to find I couldn`t get on any program whatsoever. Just kept getting warnings from an unknown source that it had been attacked by numerous viruses, trojans, worms etc. I called my daughter immediately[she`s an IT technician] she told me to switch off and leave it till she could get here to have a look. She eventually managed to get here yesterday and at first thought she would have to wipe everything for me. However, she managed to clean it all up and get rid of the offending stuff without my losing anything. I`m always really careful what I open or do on my pc, so don`t know how it happened, but it just shows that security systems are not infallible!!!

Martin

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Re: Virus Warnings
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2010, 06:25 PM »
I think these days, having a firewall and an anti-virus program is not always enough. You also need to have something that watches out for spyware and other malware.

MalwareBytes is recommended by lots of people: http://www.malwarebytes.org/

SpywareBlaster, Spybot and AdAware, which all have links from http://www.ashton-under-lyne.com/internetguide/freesoftware.htm are also well thought-of. All of these are free but you may have to update them manually rather than have it happen automatically.

Free AVG flashes up a warning if it thinks that there is anything risky on a web page that I open. Although, as my browsing habits are not very adventurous, that doesn't happen very often!

Martin