Protect Yourself From Badware has just released its “Trends in Badware 2007” report, a free overview of all the ways you and your computer can be slipped digital roofies while you’re online looking at LOLpornography and doing your banking through Twitter. It’s written in a deliberately non-technical style, so if you’re put-off or intimidated by the Slashdot crowd, this is a great way to educate yourself or a naive loved one about the dangers of drive-by downloads, website hacking, and so on.

The report isn’t the prettiest or most exciting thing to read, and the section on how to spot a fake MySpace profile is hilarious. (Wait, you mean I’m not friends with all these sexy ladies?) But it’s worth a read just to bring yourself up-to-speed on the current state of the art in badware.

Their closing advice is fairly obvious: install anti-virus software, keep your operating system up to date, and stay educated. We also suggest Ad-Aware 2007, a free program that helps monitor your Windows PC for unwanted programs, and AdBlock Plus, a free cross-platform Firefox add-on that lets you block specific third-party feeds from pages you visit.

“Trends in Badware 2007” (pdf) []
“‘Trends in Badware 2007’ released” []

Ad-Aware 2007 [Lavasoft]
AdBlock Plus []
(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Abusiveelusive says:

    I use Adblock. But I don’t think many site owners appreciate it. :D

  2. ClutchDude says:

    Some good freeware anti-virus is AVG and Anti-Vir. I have used both actually and they did a pretty good job, though Anti-vir throws an ad for their spam/adware blocking when you run the update. Small price to pay for realtime scanning and scheduling.

  3. WraithSama says:

    I personally stand by Avast! Antivirus (free for home users) and ZoneAlarm Pro software-based firewall (there is also a free version for home users). Both are updated frequently. In fact, the antivirus is updated pretty much daily and updates itself automatically in the background.

    For detecting and destroying spyware, trojans, and general malware, it doesn’t get much better than Spybot – Search & Destroy. Once again, it’s free for home users and updated frequently.

  4. backbroken says:

    Software that runs silently in the background monitoring your activity and accesses the internet without permission to update itself and steal precious bandwidth?

    Did I just describe spyware, adware, trojan horse, or anti-virus software? Actually, I think I just described all of the above. Oh, except that most anti-virus software charges you money for the priviledge.

    Honestly, I’ve been running every version of Windows since 95 and I’ve never had problems with virii or adware. Instead of installing resource draining software, stop going to .ru and .tw porn sites and opening up attachments from strangers. Do backup your data once in a blue moon and install a router. I promise you won’t need that anti-virus software.

  5. Anonymous says:

    i’m with the avg recommendation, it has done me well. however what are some good free spyware tools? i use spyware doctor, but it costs money.

  6. SimonSwegles says:

    I am a recent convert and advocate of desktop Linux in most cases. Having used Windows since it grew out of DOS, even though I used Linux for all my servers, I felt very attached to the Windows environment. I tried moving to Linux about 7 years ago, but the offerings were not robust enough to drive me away from Windows. The past 7 years have been very good for the Linux environment. Many distributions work very well, as well as installing and running more quickly and easily than Windows. For the average PC user who only rarely goes beyond web, e-mail, and simple game use, Linux should be a no-brainer change. People who need specific applications to do their jobs might have more trouble, but should be able to find a good Linux alternative in many cases.

    Where was I going with this … oh yeah, switch to Linux so you are no longer subject to the mass abuse of Windows security flaws. Sure, Linux has some security flaws, but there is very little market for their abuse.

  7. Anonymous says:

    i think the bulk of all the spyware/virus crap is coming from e-mail first, then p2p apps second. not so much from web browsing.

  8. XTC46 says:

    @INconsumer: Email definitely, but browsing and those free online games and media players are the real killers. people download those things because they are free then don’t pay attention to what else is being installed with it.

  9. STrRedWolf says:

    I got an email about this from Google to Comic Genesis’ Abuse, Postmaster, Webmaster, and support addresses. Gee, any more and I’d call it spam.

    Ether way, it was for one of the owners of the webcomics I host on CG. Apparently they couldn’t be asked to look for an email address on the page and just spammed me directly on CG. I’ve fired off an email to the right person, and then fired off an appeal to StopBadware saying “HEY! WRONG GUY! And stop bugging us about stuff Tagboard is sending out!”

    Yes, the person had an ad-spewing Tagboard on it.