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Source: This article was usa.kaspersky.com - Contributed by Member: Barbara Larson

Even though computers have become a constant feature of modern life, many people still don't realize the enormous risks that come from constant interaction with technology. 

Computer viruses are one of the oldest forms of malware — in other words, malicious software designed to do harm — but their ability to avoid detection and replicate themselves means that these programs will always be cause for worry. Understanding just what a virus can do to your computer is the first step to securing your system and protecting your family from attack.

A Computer Virus' Potential

The only real qualification for a piece of software to be labeled a "virus" is that the program has the ability to replicate itself onto other machines. This means that not all viruses pose a direct threat to your computer, but often even latent viruses will allow cyberthieves and hackers to install more damaging programs like worms and Trojans. 
Regardless of the intention of the computer virus, the program will take up some system resources while it runs. This slows down your system, even bringing your computer to an abrupt halt if the virus hogs enough resources or if there are many viruses running at the same time.

More often, the computer virus has some kind of malicious intent, either written into the virus itself or from the other pieces of malware that the virus installs. This software can take a number of harmful actions, like opening up a back door to the computer where hackers can take control of the system, or stealing confidential personal information like online banking credentials or credit card numbers. It could also direct your Web browser to unwanted, often pornographic, sites, or even lock the computer down and ask for a ransom to open it back up again. In the most severe cases, viruses can corrupt important computer files, rendering the system useless. Windows OS products are often targets of these types of vulnerabilities so be sure you're secure whether you are running the newest OS , XP, or Windows 8 - security is essential.

How to be a Savvy Computer-User

So with all the damage that a virus can do, you're sure to wonder how you can protect yourself and your family from these threats. The first step is the most obvious, and it all comes down to using your computer in a smart way. 
Ensure all your programs have the latest version of antivirus software installed. This is especially true for things like your operating system, security software and Web browser, but also holds true for just about any program that you frequently use. Viruses often take advantages of bugs or exploits in the code of these programs to propagate to new machines, and while the companies that make the programs are usually quick to fix the holes, those fixes only work if they have been downloaded to your computer. 


It's also important to avoid taking actions that could put your computer at risk. These include opening unsolicited email attachments, visiting unknown websites or downloading software from untrustworthy websites or peer-to-peer file transfer networks. To ensure that the entire family understands the risks, these procedures should be taught to everyone, and children should have their Internet use monitored to ensure they aren't visiting suspect websites or downloading random programs or files.

How to Install Virus Prevention and Detection Software

The next important step in protecting your computer and your family is to install trusted computer security software that can actively scan your system and provide virus protection. You should be warned, however, that not all security solutions are the same. 
Free antivirus software abounds on the Internet, but much of it isn't robust enough to offer complete protection or updated frequently enough to be of much use. Horrifyingly, some of this free software doesn't do anything at all and instead installs viruses, adware, spyware or Trojans when you try to download and install the program. 
If the price is a factor, the best option is to find a competitively priced Internet security solution that offers a free antivirus trial, so that you can see the software in action, and how your computer responds after being cleaned, before you make a purchasing decision. 
The hardest part about all of this is that while each day many threats are neutralized, more are then created in their place. This means that as long as there's an Internet, computer viruses will continue to be a problem. Ignoring the issue or thinking that it won't affect you is a sure way to get your computer compromised, and put your family's information or peace of mind at risk.

Categorized in Internet Privacy
Much is known about flu viruses, but little is understood about how they reproduce inside human host cells, spreading infection. Now, a research team headed by investigators from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is the first to identify a mechanism by which influenza A, a family of pathogens that includes the most deadly strains of flu worldwide, hijacks cellular machinery to replicate.

The study findings, published online today in Cell, also identifies a link between congenital defects in that machinery—the RNA exosome—and the neurodegeneration that results in people who have that rare mutation.

 

It was by studying the cells of patients with an RNA exosome mutation, which were contributed by six collaborating medical centers, that the investigators were able to understand how  A hijacks the RNA exosome inside a cell's nucleus for its own purposes.

"This study shows how we can discover genes linked to disease—in this case, neurodegeneration—by looking at the natural symbiosis between a host and a pathogen," says the study's senior investigator, Ivan Marazzi, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Influenza A is responsible in part not only for seasonal flus but also pandemics such as H1N1 and other flus that cross from mammals (such as swine) or birds into humans.

"We are all a result of co-evolution with viruses, bacteria, and other microbes, but when this process is interrupted, which we call the broken symmetry hypothesis, disease can result," Dr. Marazzi says.

The genes affected in these rare cases of neurodegeneration caused by a congenital RNA exosome mutation may offer future insight into more common brain disorders, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, he added. In the case of Influenza A, the loss of RNA exosome activity severely compromises viral infectivity, but also manifests in human neurodegeneration suggesting that viruses target essential proteins implicated in rare disease in order to ensure continual adaptation.

Influenza A is an RNA , meaning that it reproduces itself inside the nucleus. Most viruses replicate in a cell's cytoplasm, outside the nucleus.

The researchers found that once inside the nucleus, influenza A hijacks the RNA exosome, an essential protein complex that degrades RNA as a way to regulate gene expression. The flu pathogen needs extra RNA to start the replication process so it steals these molecules from the hijacked exosome, Dr. Marazzi says.

"Viruses have a very intelligent way of not messing too much with our own biology," he says. "It makes use of our by-products, so rather than allowing the exosome to chew up and degrade excess RNA, it tags the exosome and steals the RNA it needs before it is destroyed.

"Without an RNA exosome, a virus cannot grow, so the agreement between the virus and host is that it is ok for the virus to use some of the host RNA because the host has other ways to suppress the virus that is replicated," says the study's lead author, Alex Rialdi, MPH, a graduate assistant in Dr. Marazzi's laboratory.

Source : This article was published in phys.org

Categorized in Online Research

If your Android phone or tablet is playing up there is a slim chance it could have a virus. Our helpful guide demonstrates how to remove a virus from Android, plus how to avoid Android malware in the first place.

Step 1 of 8:

Android viruses are rare, but they exist. Almost exclusively installed via dodgy apps, the best way to avoid an Android virus is to keep to the secured confines of the Google Play store.

Should your device get lumbered with some malware, we will explain how to put it into Safe mode, if necessary remove the malicious app's administrator status and then uninstall the app.

 

If this fails a factory reset should remove the bug once and for all, though you would understandably prefer not to have to do so if your Android isn't backed up.

Before we begin, it's worth pointing out that your Android phone or tablet probably doesn't have a virus. What you're more likely to be seeing is an ad that wants to convince you the device is infected and that you need to download an app, or sluggish behaviour (in which case you should also check out our guide on how to speed up Android).

If your convinced that malware is at large, read on for instructions on removing it from your device.slideshow image

Step 2 of 8:

Where do Android viruses come from?

The number-one way an Android virus finds its way on to your phone or tablet is on the back of an app.

This is true of all the biggest Android viruses to hit the headlines over recent years: Gunpoder, Ghost Trojan, Googlian and Godless all came to be in this manner, while Mazar sneaks in via a text message prompting you to download the Tor browser (guess what: you're not downloading the Tor browser).

Android viruses have various aims, with some running malicious processes on your device, some stealing your personal information and others downloading additional software, which may not always be malicious itself. Whatever they're up to, you don't want them there.slideshow image

Step 3 of 8:

How to avoid Android viruses

  • Don't install apps from outside Google Play unless you know what you're doing: This functionality should be disabled by default, but to check you can open your phone or tablet's Settings menu, go to Security, then ensure the Unknown Sources option is disabled
  • Avoid cloned apps: 99 percent of the time you will be safe downloading apps from Google Play, but malicious code has been found within apps there. Avoid downloading what appear to be cloned apps from unknown developers, or apps that simply don't do what they say they doslideshow image

Step 4 of 8:

  • Check app permissions: No matter from where you are installing an app, check its required permissions before hitting Install. Does a video player really need to see your contacts? You can also check reviews online and browse the developer's website to see whether it's a genuine operation or cowboy business
  • Keep Android up to date: The latest version of the Android operating system won't necessarily be available for your phone or tablet, but you should check that it is as up to date as it can be. Next time you upgrade, consider a brand that is known for its timely operating system updates (for example, Nokia). Check out our guide on how to update Android for further advice
  • Install an antivirus app: You don't need to install antivirus on Android, but it can give you peace of mind if you're concerned about viruses, and the apps often have other useful functionality too. Be warned that Android antivirus is known to occasionally report false-positives, but if you know an app is okay you know an app is okay. We've rounded up some mobile security software in this separate articleslideshow image

Step 5 of 8:

How to remove a virus from Android

Put your phone or tablet into Safe mode. This prevents any third-party apps running, including any malware.

 

On many devices you can press the power button to access the power off options, then press and hold Power off to bring up an option to restart in Safe mode.

If this doesn't work for your device then you should Google 'How to put [your model name] into Safe mode' and follow the instructions.

When in Safe mode you'll see 'Safe mode' at the bottom left of the screen.slideshow image

Step 6 of 8:

Open your Settings menu and choose Apps, then make sure you're viewing the Downloaded tab.

Chances are you will know when your device started misbehaving, and you can usually line that up with a new app you might have downloaded.

If you don't know the name of the app you think has infected your Android phone or tablet, go through the list and look for anything dodgy-looking or that you know you haven't installed or shouldn't be running on your device. slideshow image

Step 7 of 8:

Tap on the malicious app (clearly it won't be called 'Dodgy Android virus', this is just an illustration) to open the App info page, then click Uninstall.

 

In most cases, this is all you need to do to remove the virus, but occasionally you might find the Uninstall button is greyed out.

This is because the virus has given itself Device administrator status.slideshow image

Step 8 of 8:

Exit the Apps menu and tap on Settings, Security, Device Administrators. Here you'll find a list of any apps on your phone or tablet with administrator status.

Simply untick the box for the app you want to remove, then tap Deactivate on the next screen.

You should now be able to return to the apps menu and remove that app.

With the virus now off your Android phone or tablet, all you need to is restart the device to take it out of Safe mode.

 

Now that it's working correctly it's a good time to back up whatever important data you have stored on the device, and install an Android antivirus app to protect you from any future viruses that come your way.

slideshow image

 

Source : pcadvisor.co.uk

Categorized in How to

I wrote this article to help you remove MaskSearch.com. This MaskSearch.com removal guide works for Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer.

MaskSearch.com is presented as a search provider which gives users the chance to search privately. Privacy is an ever growing issue. With the wide application of information technologies in our daily lives, we use our computers for an increasing number of purposes. We enter a lot of personal data in our online accounts, like our full name, financial credentials and ID input. MaskSearch.com offers a rather useful function. Protecting our private data is what we should do. If you are considering to use the services of MaskSearch.com for this purpose, you should reconsider. This website is risky. You should not trust it with your personal details. Research has shown that the domain is connected to a browser hijacker. The insidious program puts your online privacy at a higher risk than it normally is.

 

The hijacker behind MaskSearch.com uses the website as a portal to the browser. It can penetrate the most common browsing clients, like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Opera, and Safari. Upon making its way in, the sinister program renders the browser’s internal settings. You will notice some of the changes right away. Your homepage and default search engine will be switched to MaskSearch.com. These changes are permanent. The hijacker does not allow people to undo them. It will reinforce them every time you try to reset your browser. The function of MaskSearch.com is to forward users to sponsored websites. It gives supported results, disregarding their search queries.

Advertisements have the same purpose. They are more effective and extensive than the bogus search results. This is why the MaskSearch.com hijacker accents on them. The covert program floods users with ads on a constant basis. They appear in random shapes and forms. The adverts users notice first are the pop-ups. They cover the active browser windows and tabs. The strategy is to make sure users spot them. While people are sure to become aware of their presence, they may get annoyed by them. Nobody likes interruptions and intrusion. In many cases, users close pop-ups without taking a lock at their content. Because of this, advertisers have devised different concepts. The alternative to pop-ups are pop-unders. They do not open a new browser window, or even a tab. Rather, they get embedded into the current window. There are different types of pop-under ads, including banners, transitional, inline, floating, contextual, and interstitial ads.

Remove MaskSearch.comThe MaskSearch.com Virus

The MaskSearch.com hijacker tries to attract people with bargain shopping offers. The secluded tool hands out coupons, shows discounts, sales, package deals, and other exclusives. The product listings feature clothes, technological devices, furniture, accessories, sports gear, gardening equipment, toys, decorations, and others. You may find interest in some of the suggested goods. Keep in mind that the ads are risky. Even if a given window lists a source site, there is still no guarantee. The window can contain an embedded link to a malicious website. There is always a risk. We advice people to refrain from following random ads. It is to your best interest to be cautious.

The other risk the MaskSearch.com hijacker exposes people to is data theft. The furtive program has tracking capabilities. It can record various kinds of information from your browser, like your history, cookies, keystrokes, IP address, geographic location, email account, telephone number, demographic details, user names, and passwords. The developers of the MaskSearch.com hijacker store the data in catalogs and sell it on darknet markets. The people behind the MaskSearch.com website have taken precautions to avoid legal disputes with users. The domain is registered to an entity from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada called FreshTab Technologies. The company has disclaimed responsibility for the content of third party websites.

To protect your system from malware like the MaskSearch.com hijacker, you just need to keep your guard up. The sinister program is spread through methods which have a certain level of complexity. The hijacker needs your cooperation to gain entry into your machine. It uses underhanded tactics to trick people into allowing its install. In most cases, it travels with other programs. This distribution technique is called bundling. The rogue program merges its executable with the setup file of a given utility. It tries to get permission to be installed together with it. The extra program will be listed as a bonus with the main software from the bundle. If you do not deselect it, it will be allowed into your system per default.

The other way for the MaskSearch.com hijacker to enter your machine is through a spam email. The bogus letter will have an attachment included. The sender will urge you to open it right away, stating that it is an important document. Accessing the file can start the download and install of the hijacker automatically. Be advised that the sender behind the bogus message can write on behalf of a genuine organization. To be certain that a given message is reliable, you need to check the provided contacts. The email address is the best indication about the legitimacy of an electronic letter.

MaskSearch.com Uninstall

STEP-1Before starting the real removal process, you must reboot in Safe Mode. If you are familiar with this task, skip the instructions below and proceed to Step 2. If you do not know how to do it, here is how to reboot in Safe mode:

For Windows 98, XP, Millenium and 7: 
Reboot your computer. When the first screen of information appears, start repeatedly pressing F8 key. Then choose Safe Mode With Networking from the options.
Safe Mode with NetworkingFor Windows 8/8.1
Click the Start button, next click Control Panel —> System and Security —> Administrative Tools —> System Configuration.‌
Windows 8 Safe Mode with NetworkCheck the Safe Boot option and click OK. Click Restart when asked.
For Windows 10
Open the Start menu and click or tap on the Power button.
win10 safemode 1
While keeping the Shift key pressed, click or tap on Restart.
win10 safemode 2

STEP-2Here are the steps you must follow to permanently remove from the browser:

Remove From Mozilla Firefox:

Open Firefox, click on top-right corner, click Add-ons, hit Extensions next.
firefox extensions
Look for suspicious or unknown extensions, remove them all.

Remove From Chrome:

 

Open Chrome, click chrome menu icon at the top-right corner —>More Tools —> Extensions. There, identify the malware and select chrome-trash-icon(Remove).
chrome extensions

Remove From Internet Explorer:
Open IE, then click IE gear icon on the top-right corner —> Manage Add-ons.
ie gear
Find the malicious add-on. Remove it by pressing Disable.

STEP-3

Right click on the browser’s shortcut, then click Properties. Remove everything after the .exe” in the Target box.

ff shortcut

STEP-4

Open Control Panel by holding the Win Key and R together. Write appwiz.cpl in the field, then click OK.

appwiz

Here, find any program you had no intention to install and uninstall it.

STEP-5

Run the Task Manager by right clicking on the Taskbar and choosing Start Task Manager.

task manager

Look carefully at the file names and descriptions of the running processes. If you find any suspicious one, search on Google for its name, or contact me directly to identify it. If you find a malware process, right-click on it and choose End task.

STEP-6

Open MS Config by holding the Win Key and R together. Type msconfig and hit Enter.

msconfig

Go in the Startup tab and Uncheck entries that have “Unknown” as Manufacturer.

Still can not remove MaskSearch.com from your browser? Please, leave a comment below, describing what steps you performed. I will answer promptly.

Author : Daniel Stoyanov

Source : http://virusguides.com/remove-masksearch-com/

Categorized in Others

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