Wednesday

The Dangers Of Fat Fingers

For someone who spends a lot of time at a computer keyboard, I am a rotten typist; I never really learned to touch-type, and my hunting and pecking is hit-or-miss even on a good day.

My fat fingers do help illustrate one of the particularly sneaky aspects of the current crop of malware writers, though - if you misspell the address of a popular website, you will more often than not end up at some page that insists you need to upgrade your media player, or Java, or Adobe Flash - ever noticed that?  The "upgrades" of course, are no such thing - they are malware.

The malware purveyors benefit from your error - typing Facebool [dot] com, or Gooogle [dot] com by mistake, for instance - and have you land at a specially prepared that is all set to throw some gnarly malware onto your system. There a few precautions you can take to avoid this.


Instead of typing in the address of your favorite site, use your bookmarks or favorites - that's what they are for. You should also stop for a second and use common sense - why would Twitter be telling you to upgrade your media player, anyway?

The major web browsers now implement "safe browsing" - but that should only be thought of as safer browsing, as I have seen myself that bogus sites can still be accidentally found. You can also use an alternate DNS service that helps guard against landing on those types of sites, and there are also addons such as WebOfTrust that can help further.

None of these are a perfect solution though - I was prompted to write this because just 20 mins ago, I mistyped Facebook (not sure what I actually typed!), and was prompted to install a Shockwave Player update (bogus of course). This was despite using Google Chrome, which has a malware blocking feature and an alternate DNS service (OpenDNS).

So, slow down and pay attention is probably the best advice I can give you...

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