Mt. Vernon Register-News

CNHI Special Projects

April 10, 2013

How to detect malware on your PC

Malware can just be annoying or something very serious

(Continued)

Malware is sometimes enabled by a rootkit, which is a type of software that can disguise what your computer is doing. Sometimes, it can even fool your anti-virus software. Once an attacker gains access to a compromised computer, it can perform just about any task you can, including changing settings.

Some may recall the 2005 scandal involving Sony BMG Music, which was accused of secretly including a rootkit in music player software that came with music CDs. The rootkit was designed to protect the copyright by limiting the consumers' access to the CD but it also amounted to a major security breach.

A nasty threat

While a rootkit is very hard to detect, it may be even harder to remove. In some cases it requires the replacement of hardware. Fortunately, rootkits are not as common as run-of-the-mill malware. In most cases, malware is used to direct your attention from what you are looking for and toward something that the attacker wants to sell.

To do this malware often attacks and changes your DNS server settings. Internet addresses are not words, like ConsumerAffairs.com, but a series of numbers, punctuated by periods. DNS servers provide the translation from the name you typed into your browser's address line to the numbers, which identify the site's real address.

Hackers have learned that if they can control a user’s DNS servers, they can control what sites the user connects to on the Internet. A malware called DNSChanger performs that task. By using malware to change the user’s DNS server settings, the criminal can force the user to go to a different site than the one the user actually wants.

Last July the FBI found and disabled a number of rogue DNS servers operated by malware hackers. As a result, the consumers whose machines were infected with DNSChanger found their machines would no longer connect to the Internet.

What to do

Text Only
CNHI Special Projects
  • Does Twitter need a censor?

    Twitter decided last year to make images more prominent on its site. Now, the social network is finding itself caught between being an open forum and patrolling for inappropriate content.

    August 21, 2014

  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

  • weightloss.jpg The scales of injustice: Weight loss differs between men, women

    You're not imagining it: There really are differences between the way men and women diet, lose weight and respond to exercise.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drug dealers going corporate

    A top federal official on Tuesday said that 105 banks and credit unions are doing business with legal marijuana sellers, suggesting that federal rules giving financial institutions the go-ahead to provide services to dealers are starting to work.

    August 13, 2014

  • wwimemorial.jpg The benefit of World War I omission on the Washington Mall

    By 1982, when the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened on the National Mall, something had shifted in the way we remember our wars. A national memorial, prominently placed on the nation's most symbolically significant public space, came to seem like an essential dignity offered to veterans, their families and the memory of those who gave their lives. But there is an exception.

    August 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • In Japan, ramen aficionados worry their favorite dish is coming off the boil

    "The ramen boom has ended," said Ivan Orkin, a New Yorker who first traveled to Japan in the 1980s and now owns two noodle-soup restaurants in Tokyo. "A boom implies that there are new avenues and new growth to pursue, and that's not the case in Japan anymore."

    August 11, 2014

  • Ronnie Ellis: U.S. Senate race trail long and interesting

    By Ronnie Ellis/CNHI News Service

    FRANKFORT — Last week was a long one, endured under the onslaught of an awful summer cold and played out across the commonwealth. It began in Fancy Farm and ended it in Corbin with a trip to Hazard in between.

    August 9, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks