Lies, Darned Lies, and Marketing

I’ve come across this new breed of popup ad a few times in the past couple of weeks:

Brought to you by the evil folks at ZendMedia and the vendors of ComputerShield (http://ad1.zendmedia.com/ad-rpc.php?id=ad46) ...

Yet again we have an attempt to prey on the gullible and less-than-well-informed computer users. What infuriates me most about this—even beyond the desire to trick the user into thinking his or her computer has a problem (much like the “Your Internet connection is not operating at full speed” garbage ads)—is that the ad site claims the user’s computer is infected, regardless of the fact that the user’s computer (like mine) might be patched or firewalled and completely invulnerable to the RPC worm.

I wonder how many people have been duped by this scheme? This makes me very angry indeed.

Folks need to learn to differentiate between a scam advertisement and a real security threat, and this sort of schrecklichkeit is abominable.

And a Final Rant Is Due: Look, if you’re going to have a computer connected to the Internet, or even just receiving e-mail of any kind, you must install some good antivirus software and keep your machine updated with the latest security patches (which means running the Windows Update service for most people). Do not use McAffee because it stinks—you’re much better off with Norton Antivirus. Do update your virus definitions at least every week, and run a full scan that often as well. If you can’t afford Norton AntiVirus, try one of several free alternatives, such as BitDefender, Avast, AntiVir, or AVG Anti-Virus.

2 Replies to “Lies, Darned Lies, and Marketing”

  1. I've never (knock on wood) had a problem with viruses on any of my PCs, and haven't had virus scan or detection software installed in a very long time. In addition, I wasn't affected by the recent worm either. I can only surmise that it's probably due to a few things:

    1) I certainly don't open suspicious-looking attachments (EXEs, BATs, VBSs, etc), unless I have a pretty good idea that someone was going to send me something that I'd specifically have a need for.

    2) Put your broadband-connected PCs behind a Linksys router (or something similar) and leave all but the absolutely NECESSARY ports closed.

  2. The big advantage is the router, but I know lots of folks who are going right from their Broadband connections to their PC, and ought to use a firewall.
    My virus count last night was unusually high: 36 had come in via e-mail to my JediWilcox address (which gets gobs of Spam because it’s posted on my saber site without attempt at hiding it—something I’ll get around to changing one of these days). Thankfully, K9 eliminates the Spam (and usually viruses as well), and Norton deletes the virus-laden e-mails from OE (in the rare event they reach an Inbox), or from the [harmless] K9 compressed e-mail archive files.
    I see today that John C. Dvorak is suggesting that computer users should be licensed to operate their machines, which is an idea I’ve often pondered—especially when helping clients/friends with technical support issues.

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