How do you know if your computer has been breached, hacked, cracked or otherwise compromised? If it won’t boot up or vomits up the Blue Screen of Death, it’s pretty obvious, but what if your intruder is more devious. Doesn’t want you to know he’s been there, so leaves none of the obvious signs?
Here are some clues
* Applications that used to work fine, don’t
* It takes longer than usual to boot up
* Programs you didn’t install show up, such as toolbars at the top of your browser screen
* Something has changed on your computer. A popular trick is hi-jacking your browser–changing the home page. Don’t ignore that. Yes, you can reset your start page, but it’s a symptom of a bigger problem
* You allowed someone you don’t know to use your computer and now, it just doesn’t work right
If you answered yes to any of the above, you might be infested with malware or spyware installed without your knowledge. These apps are exactly what they sound like: bad for your computer and spy on your work. Getting rid of them is dealt with in another post. Here, I’ll tell you how to pre-empt them–prevent them from happening so you don’t have to spend hours fixing them, hire an expensive computer guru, or give up and do the F word (format the C drive).
First, be sure you have good security:
* antivirus software (read this blog for information about Panda Cloud)
* install protection against malware, spyware and their cousins. You can find recommendations for Lavasoft Ad-aware and Spybot.
* use this free software regularly. It doesn’t work if you don’t run it.
That’s a start, but fellow-blogger, Dustin Wax, posted a great summary on Internet security I want to share with you.