Revenge Of The Computer Zombies!

We've talked before about computer zombies, compromised computers that do everything from sending spam to unleashing viruses. Many unsuspecting users have these monsters on their desks and don't even know it.

Why infect computers? Because it's profitable. Zombie computers are organized into botnets, electronic armies whose computing power is sold to for-profit spammers and identity thieves. In the past three months alone, the Shadowserver Foundation estimates the size of botnets has quadrupled. That's enough to give any computer user the shivers.

As a computer user, the most important thing you can do is be aware if your computer's behavior deviates from the norm. Decreased performance and increased errors can be signs of zombie infection. Be sure to use a reliable security software suite, but don't assume it will automatically keep you safe. Sometimes security software fails to load at startup, or forgets to update itself. You should verify that you are current on your subscription and receiving several updates a week. You can find recommendations in this Tech Tips article, and in the sidebar on the Tech Tips blog.

Remember, never click on links in email messages, as they may lead to phony web sites (phishing). And be sure to install those updates your computer requests. Too many of us click "later" and never get around to it. But you should also be warned, if you are surfing the Web, that phony pop-ups will try to make you believe they are bona fide update requests. Never trust an update request from a web pop-up, only those that appear to you from software you know you have installed.

In November we'll wonder about Planned Computer Obsolescence. If you have any computer questions, click Comments below this article, and be sure to sign up for the email version of Tech Tips for bonus tips and product reviews.

Posted byTriona Guidry at 12:48 PM  


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