Monday, October 20, 2008

Kim Komando Show Tip of the Day - Monday, Oct. 20, 2008

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Monday, Oct. 20, 2008

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Is your computer a zombie?

QHow can I tell if my computer is a zombie? I used DellConnect, Dell's remote support service. Could an unscrupulous tech use it to put something funky on my computer? Laura in Columbia, MO, listening on KSSZ 93.9 FM

AA zombie is a machine that has been added to a botnet. A botnet is a group of machines controlled by criminals.

Generally, these computers are used to send spam. The botnet can also be rented to other criminals for use in denial-of-service attacks.

Your computer must be infected with malware to be turned into a zombie. The software runs surreptitiously. That's because the criminals want to use your machine as long as possible. They don't want you to know.

Given this, it is often difficult to tell if your computer is a zombie. Your computer may be sluggish. There could be a lot of causes for this, though.

You would probably also notice new programs on the machine. Access to security sites could be blocked. And your connection speed could slow to a crawl.

Most people don't realize their computer is infected until one of two things happens.

First, they could receive a number of bounced messages. Now, warnings about bounced messages could actually be spam.

However, these should say that a sent message has been blocked. Spam messages generally say that the mail is undeliverable.

It is very unlikely that the returned messages will be those sent by the criminal. The botnet will use a fake address, so as not to tip victims off. Rather, the messages would be returned because of the IP address.

I always recommend that you not open suspected spam messages. Just opening an e-mail these days can infect your machine. So, I wouldn't explore the messages. If you're seeing a lot of them, presume the worst.

The second thing that tips people off is more obvious. They receive a message from their ISP. Their account has been blocked because it's a zombie.

What must you do to clean up your little zombie? Find out here!

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Every day, Team Komando produces some of the best content you'll find anywhere on the Internet. Here is a sampling of what's new on our site today!

Enter to Win: Are you wireless? If not, now you can be for free! Enter to win the Linksys Dual-N Band Wireless Router ($199 value) today in my Giveaway of the Day Sweepstakes. Get portable and convenient wireless network gear for travel and home use. What a prize!

Video of the Day: Halloween is a fun holiday. And it's right around the corner. Have you decorated your house? Here's a great decoration.

Cool Site of the Day: Boy, there's nothing like cooking a big meal after a hard day at the office. Not! This site offers quick and easy menus.

Digital Minute, on your radio: Rumors spread fast online. And the consequences can be serious. Learn about a couple recent rumors.

Free Download of the Day: For photographing huge subjects, panorama is what you want. Microsoft can help make amazing images.

Tip on the site: Yeah, the British speak English. But that doesn't mean their DVDs will work on your player. They have the wrong region code.

Tomorrow's Tip, in your e-mail: Is your laptop spying on you?

Kim :)

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Other Items of Interest
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Personal & Educational Use Only This blog consists mainly of FREE newsletters from computer web gurus that I receive. I thought you might like to see them all in one place than try to discover them on your own. A moderate amount of editing may be done to eliminate unrelated repetitious ads or unnecessary text which bloat the post. However I have given the authors full credit and will not remove their site links because you deserve to see where it comes from and they deserve to get credit for what they have written. Your use of this site is simply for educational purposes. For more computer-related help go to: CPEDLEY.COM for free software, advice and tips on low cost products which are very helpful. If you want to contact the editor, please go CPEDLEY.COM and check the Contact page for email address.