basically tech

1 Unsafe surfing

Tuesday 10th October, 2006

A fascinating article on the BBC News website which shows what happens when you allow popup software from websites to scan your (Windows) PC for infected programs.

Those who have not read the first article in this series may wish to know that the researchers used a virtual (VMware-based) unprotected installation of Windows XP as a "honeypot" lure for trojans/hackers/virii.

The free scan inevitably showed vast amounts of spyware (on an uninfected machine) and then demanded money to fix these imaginary problems. One "security download" added unwanted toolbars and favourites, pop-up ads and also redirected web searches.

So much material was being downloaded onto the virtual machine that the researchers were forced to cut the network connection. This caused the PC to become unresponsive and the only way to switch it off was to virtually "pull the plug".