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Despite your best efforts, the worst-case scenario has hit: you’ve fallen victim to malware. Davey Winder reveals what to do next
Is your computer running slowly, crashing frequently and generally behaving a little oddly? If you fire up your web browser, are you redirected to sites you haven’t asked to visit? Do pop-ups appear even when you’re not using your browser?
If you’ve checked for rogue search-engine add-ons and other undesirable browser extensions, and you’ve run a “crap cleaner” to rid your system of temporary files and other bloat, and it’s made little to no difference, it may be time to think about infection detection and removal.
If that’s the case, follow our guide below: it explains what to do to get your PC back up and running.
There’s plenty of advice out there suggesting that your first move should be to go online and run a scan using one of the many free tools available from OS and antivirus vendors.
While this appears to be common sense – after all, you need to know what you’ve been infected with in order to remove it effectively – the truth is that malware has evolved to the point where an active internet connection is the last thing I’d recommend during a potential live infection.
The 4 Rules Of Marketing your Article
- Rule 1. Your content should be unique: When articles aren’t unique they don’t get picked up by the search engines. This is called the “duplicate content penalty”. Links inside a duplicate content article don’t hold the same benefit as a link inside a unique article.
- Rule 2. You should link to your site using your keywords: Remember that one of the most important factors for ranking highly for your search term is to have lots of backlinks using that search term. You should also spread your links throughout your article so that it looks natural to the search engines.
- Rule 3. You should get links from sites that are related to yours: These are called “on topic” links and they appear to hold more value than “off topic” links. For instance, a link to your dog training site from another pet care site is going to be much more valuable than a link from an automotive parts website.
- Rule 4. You should aim to get lots of links! Quality is important, but so is quantity! You want to make sure that you’re getting a decent number of backlinks for the amount of effort you put into producing the article. Spending an hour on an article only to get one or two backlinks is not an effective use of your time.
If you’ve tried a bit of article marketing through article directories, you know that it can be a good way of getting a brief surge in traffic to your site and some longer-lasting benefit from the backlinks, but traditional forms of article marketing fail in a few important ways.
The 3 Big Weaknesses Of Traditional Article Marketing:
- Weakness #1: Problems with duplicate content. Even if you create ten versions of your article for ten different article directories, you still only have ten chances to have your article appear in the search engines. Any time another site picks up the article, it’ll be seen as duplicate content.
- Weakness #2: You can usually only insert links into the article at the bottom, inside the “bio box”. This is not as good as having more natural looking links within the article itself.
- Weakness #3: Article directories are less useful than they used to be. Google in particular have come out with updates that devalue sites with a lot of duplicate and low-quality content. This includes many previously good article directories. So, although the better ones are still worthwhile, the value you get from having article in these directories is less than it once was.
When an online service suffers a data breach – as recently happened to eHarmony, LinkedIn, Evernote and Yahoo – there’s a risk that an intruder will discover your password and gain access to your account. That danger is multiplied if the compromised password has been used across multiple sites.
Passwords present an online dilemma; seemingly every service you use online requires a password, and for those passwords to be secure, they have to be complex. However, unless you’re blessed with savant levels of memory, it’s impossible to remember half a dozen mixed-case, alphanumeric, special-character inclusive, lengthy random keys – so it’s no surprise that people resort to reusing passwords.
This is where password managers come in – they do the remembering for you. But how do you pick the right one? What questions should you be asking of such applications, and is such an approach actually secure?
How safe are password vaults?
It’s been argued that using a password manager is “putting all your security eggs in one basket” – and with good reason: if you keep all your login data in one place, then any hacker successful in compromising it has been handed the keys to your online kingdom. At first glance, this may seem like an instant deal breaker. From a risk perspective, it requires a breach of only one service to have a domino effect on every other service you use.
Yet the actual risk of compromise is far less than if you reuse one password across multiple sites. In this scenario, you’re relying on dozens of sites keeping your data safe. It takes only one of them to suffer a breach and all the others are compromised as a result. Regular readers of PC Pro will be only too aware of how many popular internet services have suffered breaches over the past couple of years, with password databases being high on the list.
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A recent innovation in Facebook helps suggest people for tagging in photos when they are uploaded.
This is a handy feature, but you might want to disable it if you are not happy with the privacy implications of Facebook using your photos for facial recognition.
Click on Account at the top right of the Facebook page and click on Privacy Settings. Click on Customize settings underneath the table explaining the different privacy levels on your account.
Scroll down to the ‘Things others share’ section and click on the Edit settings button in the ‘Suggest photos of me to friends’ section.
A window will appear that explains in more detail exactly what Facebook will share with friends. Click on the Enabled button and then on Disabled to stop this from happening. Click on OK to save the changes.
Click here to read more.
…make friends with people you shouldn't
Add as a friend? Think before clicking "confirm". Ms Fraill didn't. The juror said it was empathy that led her to track down Jamie Sewart – a defendant in a drugs trial – on Facebook and later become "friends" with her. The contact was disclosed to the judge and in less than a year Ms Fraill was back in court, this time in the dock.
…moan about your boss/customers/constituents
It sounds obvious but is surprisingly common. A woman, known only as Lindsay, declared in a status update, "OMG I hate my job!" before launching into a personal attack on her boss. It was a matter of hours before she was reminded that her boss was among her "friends". He reportedly posted a response telling Lindsay not to bother coming in tomorrow. "I'll pop your P45 in the post. And yes, I'm serious," he wrote.
…upload dodgy photos
Unless you look after your privacy settings, embarrassment and shame are almost inevitable on Facebook – from the mildly upsetting double-chin shot to one of glazed-over eyes and hand clamped to a wine bottle in some dark den.
…enjoy your sick leave too much
If you've pulled a sickie or are genuinely ill, it's probably best to stay off Facebook. A Canadian woman on long-term sick leave for depression says she lost her benefits when her insurance agent found photos of her enjoying herself on Facebook, seemingly having fun in the sun and late nights out with friends. Nathalie Blanchard had been on leave from her job at IBM in Quebec for a year and maintains her activities were on doctors' orders as a way to beat depression.
Israel was among the first to get nervy about sensitive information appearing on the internet after a review of its troops' Facebook pages revealed detailed pictures of air bases, operations rooms and submarines. A new set of rules – which was not made public – included a ban on images of pilots and special unit members, and anything showing specific military manoeuvres.
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