In the past two weeks I remembered to do some seasonal home maintenance—replacing furnace filters, installing snow tires, and cleaning the gutters. But I neglected to update the anti-spyware definitions on our upstairs shared computer. Mistake.
Sunday morning, before my wife and I drove up to Denver to attend the downtown “Tuba Christmas” concert, I turned on the computer to check our shared email account.
Instead I got an official-looking notice from “Vista Home Security 2012” that our computer had been infected. But the pop-up assured me there was a simple solution. All I had to do was click “yes” to a few boxes and our computer would again be secure.
Bogus. I'm no techie, but I know that neither my wife nor I had installed such a program.
Instead, on the advice of our son--a professional programmer--we rely on two programs: “Avast” for virus protection and “SUPERAntiSpyware” for further protection. The downside of using this (free) version for spyware protection is that I need to update the definitions regularly, then click a few buttons so the program scans our computers.
And I'd neglected that for a few weeks. Fortunately I recognized the alerts were a trap, trying to lure me to “register” the program--and in the process steal my financial information.
The solution was relatively simple. I restarted the computer in “safe” mode, ran a full system scan with the anti-virus software, updated the anti-spyware definitions, then ran the anti-spyware program—twice. Since then, no problem. But I did add an important upgrade: a tiny sticky note on the bottom of my monitor on which I've jotted “spyware update” and the date.