You have probably heard about the malicious software programs that suddenly pop up a window and tell you that you have 97 severe threats on your computer and you need to take action to get rid of them. You close the window, and it just opens up again a few seconds later. Sometimes lots of windows – and they prevent you from doing anything else.
Some people would say that is the most annoying kind of virus in existence. Well, while that type of thing is certainly frustrating, it is definitely not the most dangerous.
The malware that can do the most damage is the one that you don’t see at all.
There is a new type of virus/spyware emerging, and it employs a rather clever technique. It is called the “post transaction” attack.
Here’s how it works:
The malware finds an unprotected computer and gets in. Then it just sits and waits – no obnoxious pop-up windows or anything. To the computer user, everything seems to be working fine.
What the program is waiting for is a bank account login. Eventually the owner of the computer logs into his or her bank account, and when that happens the hidden software records the user name and password and other critical personal data. That is Step 1 of this scam.
Step 2 is immediately put into place – an instantaneous redirect. This means that the next time that computer tries to go to that bank account website, it is immediately sent to a different website – one that LOOKS identical to the user’s bank account, but is in fact just a fake page that is designed to look normal.
In the background, the virus is using the bank account to make fraudulent purchases, and if the user logs into what appears to be the account, it all seems fine – at least for a while. Eventually it gets figured out, but the software achieved it’s purpose – discovery was delayed by hours, days, maybe even weeks. Scammers love having all that extra time to get away with your money and cover their tracks.
So, for those of you that think you are protected because you check your online bank account regularly, please consider that you might not be doing enough to protect yourself.
How to prevent this from happening
There are 3 security programs that I use and recommend. 2 are free, and the other is a cheap, one-time investment. Here they are again:
1. Microsoft Security Essentials (antivirus – free – click here to get it)
2. Malwarebytes paid version (antispyware – $24.95 one time – click here to get it)
3. SuperAntispyware (antispyware – free – click here to get it)
Take a few minutes to get these programs on your computer, and save yourself hours of grief. I can put them on your computer if you want – I have installed them on hundreds already. However you do it, make sure you do it.