Security Tips & Talk

Tips about computer security, online safety, and privacy

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  • Blog Post: Help! Someone is holding my computer hostage

    If you see a pop-up window, webpage, or email message warning you that your computer has been locked because of possible illegal activities, you might be a victim of a criminal extortion scam called ransomware . Ransomware often masquerades as an official-looking warning from a well-known law enforcement...
  • Blog Post: Why does my AV software keep turning off?

    Bob writes: My antivirus software keeps turning off and I can’t get it back on. Here are the most common reasons you might encounter this problem: Your computer is already infected with rogue security software The warning that you’re antivirus software is turned off might be a...
  • Blog Post: Online scams are no April Fool’s Joke

    On April Fools' Day you might have fun being the recipient or the instigator of a harmless prank or two, but it's good for you to know about online pranks we’ve seen that are far from harmless. Phone scams. Cybercriminals don’t just email you or post on your social networking site anymore...
  • Blog Post: Do I have to pay for antivirus software?

    Jo Anne writes: I received a message that said that my Microsoft security software is turned off and I am not protected. What can I do? I even ran the scan. The warning says that I can buy antivirus protection, but I don’t want to pay for it. If your computer is running Windows, you do not...
  • Blog Post: Watch out for fake Java updates

    You may have seen reports about security alerts for Java recently. Java is a commonly used piece of software from Oracle, so there’s a good chance you have it installed on your computer. Cybercriminals often use fake virus alerts to lure you into buying fraudulent antivirus software. These alerts...
  • Blog Post: Top 10 security stories of 2012

    From the latest scams and fraud to how, when, and why to update your computer, here are the stories that you viewed and clicked on the most this year. Download security update for Internet Explorer . In September, Microsoft released a security update for Internet Explorer. To help protect your computer...
  • Blog Post: Scams relating to the recent Microsoft Security Advisory

    Microsoft recently released a security update for Internet Explorer in response to Security Advisory 2757760 . Scammers will often use news items (especially those relating to computer security ) to try to trick you into downloading malicious software or to steal your personal information . Scammers...
  • Blog Post: Avoid scam phone calls

    Gabby writes: I just wanted to let you know that I received a phone call this evening from a guy called “Daniel” from “Technical Maintenance of Microsoft Windows.” He said that Microsoft had received error messages from my computer and he asked me to turn my computer on and...
  • Blog Post: How do I get rid of all of these security warnings?

    Donald asks: How do I eliminate the security warnings that pop up every time I open a new page? Donald’s question has two answers. Answer #1: They are fake security warnings Donald notes that the warnings “pop up” and happen every time he opens a new page, which makes us...
  • Blog Post: FBI warns against hotel net connections

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a warning earlier this month that travelers should be careful using Internet connections in hotels. Some travelers had inadvertently downloaded malicious software onto their computers when they accepted fake security updates. Reportedly, hackers had...
  • Blog Post: 4 signs of scareware

    “Scareware” is fake anti-virus software (also called “rogue security software”) that cybercriminals trick you into paying for or trick you into downloading along with malicious software. According to the latest Security Intelligence Report from Microsoft, one of the most prevalent...
  • Blog Post: Fake security software: Know the risks

    If you’re browsing the web and you see a security warning, beware. Cybercriminals use fake security warnings (also known as “ rogue security software ”) to steal personal information or to charge you for a program that doesn’t work. You should only download software from a...
  • Blog Post: Watch out for fake security software

    One of the most common ways for cybercriminals to steal money from people is through the use of fake security software, according to the most recent Microsoft Security Intelligence Report . This kind of software is also known as “scareware” or “ rogue security software .” Cybercriminals...
  • Blog Post: Computer security tales of woe: What’s yours?

    I recently received two email messages from people who had been the victims of cybercrime. These people weren’t just readers of our blog—they work on our team. That means that they spend almost every day thinking about viruses , online fraud , security updates , and other issues of computer...
  • Blog Post: Microsoft releases newest Security Intelligence Report

    The Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIR ) provides information about current security threats to help protect organizations, software, and people. The report covers exploits, vulnerabilities, and malware based on data from over 600 million systems worldwide, Internet services, and three Microsoft...
  • Blog Post: Fraud alert: MS Removal Tool

    Cybercriminals are circulating a new piece of fake security software that spoofs a Microsoft security tool. It’s called the “MS Removal Tool.” If you see a pop-up ad or an email for the “MS Removal Tool,” ignore it. If you already have this malware on your computer, you...
  • Blog Post: Beware of bin Laden malware on the web and in email

    If you’re searching for news about or pictures of Osama bin Laden, you might find malware instead. This week the FBI warned computer users to be especially careful of emails that claim to show photos or videos of bin Laden’s death. Cybercriminals are quick to put up fraudulent websites...
  • Blog Post: Looking for Japan's earthquake news? Don't fall for fake search results

    Last week we told you about how to avoid fake donation websites and emails if you want to help Japanese earthquake and tsunami victims. Eweek reports that cybercriminals have also started using Japanese earthquake related search terms to lead people to their malicious websites. These fraudulent...
  • Blog Post: Avoid scams through your phone

    We recently received this email message from a reader: "I got a call from someone who said that he was from 'Windows Technical Department Support Group.' He said he was calling to fix my security system. He wanted me to log onto a website so he could walk me through a process that would give him...
  • Blog Post: Watch out for Security Essentials 2011

    The Microsoft Malware Protection Center reports that there's a new name for an old version of fake security software (also known as rogue security software .) Security Essentials 2011 pretends to be antivirus software from Microsoft, but instead of protecting you from malicious software it infects...
  • Blog Post: Don’t fall for “scareware” this Halloween

    For cybercriminals, scaring people is not limited to the last week in October. Rogue security software, also known as scareware, is fake software that claims to provide security for your computer, but might generate misleading alerts or attempt to lure you into identity theft or other kinds of fraud...
  • Blog Post: What is Win32/FakeRean?

    Our friends on the Microsoft support team tell us that they’ve heard a lot of complaints lately about Win32/FakeRean , a rogue antivirus program that claims to scan your computer for viruses and spyware and displays fake warnings. Win32/FakeRean isn’t new. According to the Microsoft Malware...
  • Blog Post: Watch our new rogue security software videos

    If you’ve ever seen suspicious pop-up ads with urgent warnings to download security software, you’re not alone. According to the most recent Microsoft Security Intelligence Report , fake security software (also known as rogue security software ) is the most prevalent trend in malicious software today...
  • Blog Post: Fake software alert: Security essentials 2010

    Security essentials 2010 is the latest fake security software to use the Microsoft name to spread malware instead of to help protect against it. Security essentials 2010 is a form of rogue security software that cybercriminals use to trick people into infecting their own computers. This fake software...
  • Blog Post: Don’t fall for phony phone tech support

    Here's another form of Internet fraud that combines a variety of other common scams- social engineering , fake security software , and phishing . Cybercriminals have started calling people on the telephone, claiming to be from Microsoft, and offering to help solve their computer problems. Once cybercriminals...
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