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Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Beware Unknown Audio and Video Codecs - Spyware Infested

How did I get infected in the first place?
I've been seeing more and more people in my line of work with serious spyware infestations. One of the main ways that you can get things like Smitfraud-C, Spylocked, Vundo, Virtumonde and their variations is to download suspicious codecs to supposedly get an on-line video or song to play. Another way is to download and install some sort of software that claims to be a security or system repair program. Most of these are actually spyware or some other nasty thing. Also, if you are using a peer to peer program like Kazaa, Bearshare, Limewire, etc to download music and other files, you need to be careful with the files once you have them. They could contain viruses or spyware or both. Scan them before you open them.

How Do I Keep From Getting Infected?
Heed all of the above. And research something new before downloading and installing it. When in doubt, ask a professional who knows about these things.
Keep your operating system up to date with all the updates that come up. Most of these updates patch security holes that the threats use to get into things and mess things up.
Keep your Java and Adobe Flash up to date. (and manually remove old versions of Java after updating)
Keep your Antivirus program up to date.
Keep your anti-spyware program up to date.
Don't have more than one antivirus program running at one time.
Run a full system scan for viruses and another for spyware regularly, or whenever you think you might have something.
And don't use Internet Explorer. Most threats written to mess up your browser, are written for IE. Use Firefox instead.

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