Have you been added to the ranks of the zombies?

Right now, there may be one or more zombies in your home or office.

They may be waiting until you go home or go to sleep tonight. They may be waiting until you aren’t watching and then they’ll attack.

Got your attention yet?

Here’s what the New York Times has to say:

“Experts say hundreds of thousands of computers each week are being added to the ranks of zombies, infected with software that makes them susceptible to remote deployment for a variety of illicit purposes, from overwhelming a Web site with traffic - a so-called denial-of-service attack - to cracking complicated security codes.

“In most instances, the user of a zombie computer is never aware that it has been commandeered.”

Zombies. In your home, in your office. I know it sounds ridiculous, but hold on — there’s more:

“The networks of zombie computers are used for a variety of purposes, from attacking Web sites of companies and government agencies to generating huge batches of spam e-mail.

“In some cases, experts say, the spam messages are used by fraud artists, known as phishers, to try to trick computer users into giving confidential information, like bank-account passwords and
Social Security numbers…

“One case under investigation, officials say, may involve as many as 300,000 zombie computers.”

And that’s just one case.

Some experts are estimating that 170 thousand computers are being infected, being made into zombies EVERY DAY.

What can you do to make sure your computers are not affected?

  1. Seriously consider using another browser instead of Internet Explorer.

    Internet Explorer is part of the Operating System of Windows. This means that any web site that you go to that has zombie code attached to it can burrow very deeply into the guts of your computer.

    With other browsers (like Firefox, for example) this is not nearly as likely to occur.

  2. Be careful where you go to download stuff from the Internet.

    Some sites like tucows.com or download.com are better than others at filtering out zombie code applications.

  3. Read the End User License Agreement.

    This is that daunting block of text that pops up just before you install an application. You know, it gives you a window that says: “Yes, I Accept” and “No, I Do Not Accept.”

    So — read it carefully. I mean, you wouldn’t sign a contract without reading it first would you? Free software downloads are the same way — read the fine print first before you download it.

    If it sounds like there is some other program that will be installed along with the one you want, then be suspicious. You might even simply click “No” and walk away.

    Fact is, it’s just simply not worth the risk.

  4. Use up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software.

    I use the free version of Ad-Aware and Spybot. You can google either one and find out where to get them.

    Whichever brand you use, the important thing is to make sure
    you allow them to download the newest updates.

  5. Scan your system on a regular basis.

    What good is protective software if you don’t use it on a regular basis.

    One suggestion: Boot your computer into safe mode and run the scan from there.

    When you boot into safe mode, you are loading only the most basic elements into computer memory. What this means is that certain kinds of malicious code will not be able to load into your computer and
    elude the protective software from detecting it.

  6. Never open email attachments.

    Not from strangers, not from friends. If there is one kind of attachment you might open, it would be one that you specifically requested from someone you know — a co-worker, for example. And even then, be suspicious, very suspicious. The fact is, anyone you know could be unknowingly passing along a malicious piece of code that could turn your computer into a zombie.

    And you wouldn’t want that, would you?

Here's A Few More Related Posts:
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  3. What Happened to the YouTube Empire We Were Promised?
  4. Free VOIP Services: Not Necessarily Free

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