Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Internet Security - Are you as Protected as you think you are?

Over the past several weeks, I have been pulling my hair out.  I truly thought that my hard-drive was fried and that I was going to lose all my data with the next key stroke.

It started with pages loading so slowly, I could have filed my nails waiting for them.  My keyboard was very difficult to use, it literally was taking me five minutes to type a paragraph.  The keys were ghosting and sticking like crazy.  The worst part was that IE was redirecting all of my searches to store-front sales pages, totally unrelated to the search query that I was inputting into Google.

I obviously had some sort of virus but couldn't quite figure out how I downloaded it. I obviously went to a malicious site without even realizing it.  We have what I thought was one of the best Anti-Virus, Anti-Spam programs on the net.  We have used McAfee for several years now and it came pre-loaded when we purchased our new computer from Dell, two years ago.

We run a complete scan every week and Mcafee was only showing one instance of a mild trojan which they quaranteened, but the same one kept showing up.  McAfee does offer remote technical support but you have to pay an additional fee for this service.  I decided to go this route as I really needed to get my computer back to some sort of functionality.  $90.00 US and three phone calls and almost 7 hours on the phone with a technician in India and our problem still was not resolved.

I was panicked because I thought our only solution was a new hard-drive.  Fortunately my husband was discussing our issue at his office and a co-worker recommended a new Anti-virus software company to us.  Actually they are only new to the small mom and pops, they have been providing security protection to major corporations for years.

The Anti-Spy, Anti-spam, Firewall software is called Vipre from Sunbelt Corporation.  We downloaded their 14 Free Trial version and completed a full scan.  I was totally shocked that they found over 120instances of trojans, spyware and malware and the most significant was they found a stealth virus which was causing the problems.

For you techies out there, this software scans to the root kit of your operating system and does not slow down your PC! One of the biggest frustration with existing antivirus solutions is bloat and high resource usage. VIPRE's design is low on system resources and optimizes your overall PC user experience, keeping notification pop-ups and warnings to a minimum. Kiss your antivirus bloatware goodbye!

Malicious sites are web sites that contain browser exploits, harmful javascript code or ActiveX or other technologies. The purpose of these sites is to infect your computer with spyware (Trojans) and send your personal and private information to the criminals behind the scenes. They can also freeze or crash your browser or even your computer. Nevertheless, the basic purpose is criminal intent to take advantage of your now accessible device.

There are ways to avoid such sites, including a Firefox add-on called Web of Trust. Before clicking on a link, from web site or email, hover your mouse over the link to see where it really is going. Most browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, IE 8 and Safari, also warn users about potentially unsafe sites, using a blacklist kept by Google. Shortened links pose a major problem because the destination is not disclosed in the abbreviated form. Several applications are available to help you identify destinations including Untiny:

No matter what protections you are taking to secure the security of your computer I strongly urge you to take a look at this site:
I am not an affiliate for Vipre, although they do offer an affiliate program so I have nothing to gain here except your peace of mind.

Our computer is running smoothly again, I cannot believe how fast everything is loading and with Vipre I know that nothing, absolutely nothing will get thru.  I disabled McAfee, even though my subscription runs for another 8 months and paid the reasonable fee of $40.00 US. for Vipre, Anti-Virus, Anti-spyware and Firewall protection.  And did I mention, live, free support with technician in the US.

The other change that I made was to switch my browser from Internet Explorer to Mozilla Firefox.  It is taking some getting use to but the speed that Firefox loads pages will amaze you.

I hope that you have found this article useful.

Jackie Bigford
Newbie Profits Now

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