If You Are Getting More Junk Email Lately, You Are Not Alone
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- Written on: November 1st, 2006
Belly up to the table and help yourself to a nice helping of SPAM. NO I don’t mean the dinner table or the wonderful canned delecasy. Online security firms are reporting a 30% increase in the amount of SPAM email floating around the Internet over the past 2 months, and your computer may be guilty of sending some of it.
It seems that botnets are being increasingly used to serve up junk email to unsuspecting users across the Internet. A botnet is a large group of computers (usually in the thousands) that are not properly patched with the latest security updates. Because they are vulnerable, crackers across the globe can exploit these computers and use them to harvest the email addresses of your friends and family and then serve them up a healthy helping of junk email – over and over and over again.
This begs the question, how can you protect your computer from becoming part of a bot network. Here is a quick list of the best ways to protect yourself:
- Download your Windows Updates (even the recommended ones)
- Install a firewall program
- check the website for other programs you use for updates
- Don’t install free software if you don’t know the source
Download Your Windows Updates
Ok, so this one seems like a no brainer, but there are still hundreds of thousands of computer users out there who do not use automatic updating to get the most critical updates as quickly as possible. In addition, if you so use critical updating to get your updates still take a moment from time to time to visit the Windows Update website and download the recommended updates as well. These updates are not considered critical, so they do not get downloaded automatically. In some cases getting updated software can help you defend against older unpatched exploits.
Install a Firewall Program
I am still amazed by the number of people who have high speed internet, but do not have a firewall program installed. We strongly recommend you upgrade to Norton Internet Security for complete firewall and anti-virus protection. A firewall is designed to stop unwanted communication between your computer and the Internet. If you have a firewall program installed your chances of becoming part of a bot network are dramatically reduced.
Check for Other Updates
I highly recommend you download all security updates that are available for all programs on your computer. Remember that bad people can use security loopholes in any program – not just Windows or Internet Explorer – to get into your computer. Visit the websites of the companies that make the programs on your computer and see if there are any security patches available.
Don’t Accept Candy From Strangers
If you find a free program that you want to install, do a quick Google search on it to see if others have experienced problems in the past with it. A recent selection called Arcade from Download.com was jammed packed with the NSIS Media Spyware Infection. So if you are looking for a free lunch, be sure to ask what is in the sandwich before you eat it!
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- Comments: 1