At the beginning of February I came across yet another scareware/ransomware virus of which you should be aware . Like other similar viruses, this virus downloads and installs an application on your computer from an infected website targeting browsers and java software that have not been updated. The application proceeds to turn off your real antivirus software and hold your computer ransom by pretending to be legitimate antivirus software. This particular fake antivirus calls itself Windows Paramount Protection and asks you to pay for an update in order to clean up an infection. DO NOT give them your credit card. If you see the screen below or one similar, the best course of action is to shut down your computer and call someone to remove the infection.
Another attack that popped up on my radar this month was one targeted at a U.S. veteran’s website – VFW.org. This attack exploited a flaw in Internet Explorer 10 and older with Adobe Flash installed to install a piece of software designed to steal files from a computer. What makes this virus interesting is that it disappears after the computer is rebooted. The stealth nature of this virus makes it hard to detect; however, upgrading your browser will prevent you from being infected.
If you are using an older browser because of specific requirements of say a web application that only supports Internet Explorer 9 or 10, I would recommend only visiting those sites with the older browser and installing another browser like Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari for your regular web browsing activities. These browsers are not immune to attacks either, so be sure you update them frequently as well.