The Lord's Grace
Things to Know
Just In Time For The Holidays
30 Oct 2004
FYI, Just In Time For The Holidays: Those cute little electronic greeting cards you occasionally get from friends may be a real problem.
The ones I'm speaking of are those where there's a link that says "[Some Name] has sent you a greeting card. Go here to get your greeting card".
When you get a card notification from them and click on the link, it will take you to their site. You will be notified that you have to install an ActiveX control in order to view the card. When you begin to install, the first thing that pops up is what is known as a "EULA" (End User License Agreement). It is very long, and you will not read it. They're counting on that. When you scroll to the bottom of it and click "Accept," you have agreed to the terms of the EULA.
Part of what you will have agreed to is to have monitoring/spyware software installed on your computer which will periodically report a vast array of data back to the card company. The other part that you've agreed to is to have the software send mail to EVERY SINGLE ADDRESS IN YOUR ADDRESS BOOK.
In short, you've voluntarily agreed to install a virus-type product on your machine. This is not a good thing.
Since there is no virus in the email, and since you're VOLUNTARILY agreeing to install the ActiveX component, VIRUS CHECKERS WILL NOT CATCH THIS.
Just a reminder: DO NOT OPEN EMAIL ATTACHMENTS when you are not expecting them, and DO NOT RUN ANYTHING FROM THE INTERNET WHICH REQUIRES A EULA AGREEMENT.
Jim Willingham, CFCE
Denton County Criminal DA
The programs below will remove spyware and help keep them off of your system.
Ad-aware6 - With its ability to scan your RAM, Registry, hard drives, and external storage devices for known data mining, advertising, and tracking components, Ad-aware can easily rid your system of these tracking components, allowing you to maintain a higher degree of privacy while you surf the Web. download
Spybot - Search & Destroy can detect and remove a multitude of adware files and modules from your computer. Spybot can also clean program and Web usage tracks from your system, which is especially useful if you share your computer with other users. download
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