Don’t Pick ‘Treats’ and Get ‘Tricks’ Instead!

With Halloween just around the corner, we at SynchroNet are thinking about tricks and treats. While this can be an especially fun time of year for kids, vigilant parents know how important it is to check kids’ bags of candy for suspicious or outright dangerous treats. Having a watchful attitude can benefit almost every aspect of our lives… including IT (you knew we’d end up talking about tech, right?).

Tech ‘Tricks’

One of the malicious ‘tricks’ nefarious people use to part you and your valuable data are things that look like treats. Maybe you’ve seen freebie ads like, ‘Click here to boost your computer’s performance’? Or perhaps you’ve seen pop-ups warning you that your ‘Drivers are out of date’? You may even see a well-known Windows product symbol with a message “A required driver is missing” (like the image on the right)? Should you click?

These advertisements seem to offer you a beneficial bit of merchandise or intelligence, but who’s behind the product or service? Do you recognize the publisher’s name at a glance because it’s respected and well-known (like Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, Cisco, etc)? Is the image crystal clear? Do you see tool-tips when you hover over the message? If you can see the URL where the link is pointing, does it make sense based on your past experience with the company supposedly behind the message?

Now, not every pop-up is attached to malware, but most are. As soon as you click into the window, you may be trapped. At the very least, you’ll end up spending hard-earned money on products of questionable value. In the worst case scenario, you’ll infect your system with a virus or Trojan that could really impair system performance or even put your data at risk. These items are not treats; they are tricks and should be handled with extreme caution-and preferably dumped altogether.

If in doubt, ignore the ad-no matter how legitimate it appears to be. If you’re getting pop-ups, turn on your browser’s pop-up blocker (if you need help, we’re here for you). Don’t allow malicious software to infect your system. (And by the way, if you’re ever worried about your system, important system updates are included automatically when SynchroNet runs system patches. If you are concerned that your PC is behind on drivers or updates, give us a call; we’ll be happy to look over your system and make adjustments if necessary.)

Let’s keep the treats where they belong… in our Halloween candy baskets. Happy Halloween!