If you browse the Internet, odds are you're familiar with pop-ups. If you have email, odds are you are familiar with spam These annoying ads come in many forms, but generally they are trying to sell you something. Close the window or click to learn more. Harmless enough, right? Don't be fooled. While many pop-ups and emails from reputable companies are safe, the adware programs that generate illegitimate pop-ups are capable of installing spyware to hijack your browser and capture your personal information.
In fact, pop-ups and spam often appear because you already have spyware on your machine.
Spam, or junk email, is cost-shifted advertising. It takes a toll on Internet users' time, their resources, and the resources of Internet Service Providers (ISP). If your inbox is full of messages from people or companies you don’t recognize you may have malware on your PC. E-mail and instant messaging have become increasingly favored channels among spyware villains for spreading their malicious programs. Our experts estimate that 85 billion spam email messages are sent every single day.
Here’s how they do it:
Malware is embedded in or attached to a spam email message or pop-up.
Messages with malware can arrive from many sources and in a variety of forms. It can be sent as an attachment to spam email, embedded in a seemingly harmless file or hidden in a link within the body of a message. Spam email and instant messages laced with malware often try to mislead you into clicking on an attached file or on a link within the email, which then initiates the download. However, sometimes simply opening the message itself starts the download process.
Enticed or deterred by the pop-up ad’s offer? Either way, if you interact with a pop-up at all, you may trigger a spyware install. Pop-ups can appear many different ways including, floating pop-ups that glide across your screen, mouse-over ads triggered by cursoring over an item on a Web page, or mass attack ads that deliver eight or more pop-ups at once.
Prevent spam damage.
One simple way you can prevent spam damage is to practice safe email protocol:
Don't open email or text messages from unknown senders
Immediately delete messages you suspect are spam
Avoid get rich quick offers, porn or too-good-to-be-true messages
Never "unsubscribe" from spam email as this just validates your email address.
Prevent pop-ups and the damage they can cause.
There are a few simple things you can do right away to prevent further spyware infection and avoid pop-ups:
Avoid clicking on pop-ups, even to close them. Instead, close pop-ups from the system tray area with a right mouse click.
Update your operating system regularly
Increase your browser security settings
Avoid questionable Web sites
Improve your overall online security
Make sure that you have the best security software products installed on your PC:
- Use antivirus protection and a firewall
An unprotected computer is like an open door for pop-ups infected with spyware. For more potent protection, use antispyware software and a pop-up blocking application. Products like Webroot Antivirus and Webroot Internet Security Complete thwart spyware before it can enter your PC, stand guard at every possible entrance of your computer and fend off any spyware that tries to enter, even the most damaging and devious strains.
While free pop-up blocker downloads are available, they just can’t keep up with the continuous onslaught of new pop-up adware and spyware strains. Choose a pop-up blocker that can detect and block even the trickiest ads, including mouse-overs, mass attacks, and timed pop-ups. Previously undetected forms of these malicious threats can often do the most damage, so it’s critical to have up-to-the-minute, guaranteed protection.