My friend Janice is afraid to go on Internet because of terrible things that might happen to her. She views a simple trip to get e-mail way she views going alone, late at night, to a dangerous part of town.
Please . . . it’s not that bad. Though, come to think of it, it’s ALMOST that bad: hijackers can now do things to people who already have antivirus and anti-spyware programs. To people who have carefully NOT clicked on scam e-mails. Some hijackers can disable your firewall, your antivirus software, and your spyware killers. Or they can prevent antivirus and spyware from being updated.
But there are solutions. Here’s what you do:
You know you’ve been hijacked if your start page is different and if you keep getting things you didn’t intend to get -- frequently pornographic sites and popup ads. You change things back way they were, but they won’t stay changed.
These nasties nabbed you through a security hole in Microsoft Windows.If you haven’t been caught and don’t want to be, http://www.spywareinfo.com/articles/hijacked/prevent.php says,
“First and most simply, stop using Internet Explorer. If you use either Mozilla, Firefox or Opera, you are immune to virtually all browser hijackers.”
Actually, it’s not that simple. There are ways scammers can get around Firefox. Microsoft is also busy locking its barn doors, though I’m afraid horse has already been stolen.
If you decide to stay with Internet Explorer, be sure to keep it up to date, especially with what they call “critical updates.”
The most basic and most necessary protection, one you’ve probably installed already, is antivirus protection. The antivirus programs upgrade constantly to protect us from latest viruses. Norton is most common, and a good choice. If you prefer a simple, uncomplicated solution, go to site that sells Norton, http://symantec.com/, and download all antivirus protection you want.
If you’re a thorough person, however, one who wants to learn about all options, go to http://antivirus.about.com/od/antivirussoftwarereviews/, and you will learn of problems and solutions you never dreamed existed.
WHAT YOU GET FOR NOTHING IS NOTHING -- OR WORSE
Unfortunately, an antivirus program alone is not enough these days. You need ANTI-SPYWARE.
Because latest hijackers can disable anti-spyware -- AND keep you from downloading updates -- you want some that is really, really good. The techie who manages my website says, “Get something that can WARD OFF attacks, not just remove them after they’ve infected you. Once really vicious spyware is on your machine, it may be impossible for anyone but an expert to remove it.”