The Importance Of Having Ad-Blockers

Luke Gruden is a help desk technician for Tech Experts.

Every day, millions of people go online and go to a familiar website, just to get an advertisement pop-up that disrupts their online experience.

Ads are a way of life for many websites to generate profit from viewers visiting their website and, when clicked, these ads can take a person to another website, usually for their product.

While annoying and harmless when used as intended, issues in this system start to happen when the intentions of an “advertiser” go beyond just advertisement.

There are malicious people on the Internet utilizing advertisements to leave our computers and information vulnerable for theft and abuse.

Some advertisements will come in as scareware trying to pressure people into calling their number or download a harmful program.

Scareware is a common pop-up that thousands have fallen victim to – giving up Social Security numbers or access to bank accounts, allowing malicious connections to their computers, leaving networks vulnerable and infected, and more.

Some advertisements, if not filtered by a website correctly, can actually contain viruses and infections that don’t allow a person an opportunity to protect their own browser and computer.

These infections usually leave spyware and trojans that try to steal your information from your computer.

Surprisingly, the websites with these sorts of advertisements may have never intended for you to fall victim to scareware or other infections.

Usually, websites with these ads tend to be smaller websites using an advertisement agency that does not fully screen all the advertisements they are receiving, allowing malicious people to send their harmful information out onto the Internet.

There is a very simple solution to these real threats: ad-blocking software. If you use Firefox or Google Chrome, there are two good options that you can attach to your browser.

The first option is Adblock Plus, which is a common choice that works well. There is also uBlock Origin that uses less processing power than Adblock Plus that also blocks most advertisements. Both of these options will go a very long way in protecting your computer.

If you are using Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge, these web browsers do not support add-ons and have weak advertisement blocking capabilities.

Firefox and Chrome on their own, even without add-ons, are more secure than Internet Explorer. If you have not switched to Chrome or Firefox, I highly recommend you make the change soon.

The installation processes for Adblock Plus and uBlock Origins are very straightforward and easy on Chrome and Firefox. You can Google the ad-blocker you want to use and go to either the Chrome web store or Add-ons For Firefox, based on which browser you are using.

Keep in mind that this isn’t a substitute for anti-virus. Ad-blocking extensions for your browser simply help to block the things that could become nasty infections.

For a more protected computer, you should absolutely use both anti-virus and ad-blockers.

If you need help setting up ad-block software or have questions, you can always contact Tech Experts.

Stay safe and remember to use ad-blocking software to keep your Internet experience safe.

How To Identify And Handle Scareware Pop-ups

jared-stemeye

Jared Stemeye is a Help Desk Technician at Tech Experts.

Let’s say you’re reading the latest news articles on a webpage you visit regularly. In an instant, a new browser window flashes onto your screen, blinking with some sort of notice, a warning of virus infections, a legitimate looking logo, and a phone number to call.

Some of these even employ audio statements such as, “Your PC is infected. If you close this window you will lose all information stored on your hard drive.”

These tactics combined do a very good job of eliciting emotions of fear and anxiousness from their victims.

However, with the proper knowledge to identify the fraudulent practices of these groups, along with the proper steps to handle such occurrences, you will be able to avoid the hardship many others have encountered.

The first thing you should know is that it is quite simple for anyone to attach the Microsoft, or any name brand anti-virus’ insignia onto the page to make it appear convincingly genuine. The ‘official’ logos you see on these pop-ups are not legitimate, though it is very easy to think that they are.

The second, and probably the most important, thing to know is to never – under any circumstances – call the phone number provided by the pop-up.

The disreputable individuals on the other end of the phone are not meant to help you. Like the pop-ups, they too are proficient at inducing anxiety among their victims, urging those who call to allow permission for remote access to the targeted computer.

Once someone has access to your desktop, they have access to all your locally stored files and can make changes to them as well as plant malware or spyware.

Never allow remote access to your computer unless you, without any doubt, know who it is you’re allowing access.

Now, what you should do next? First, attempt to close the window as you would with any other window by clicking the X in the top right corner.

In many cases, a dialogue box will appear at the top of the screen, providing more anxiety-inducing phrases to make you think your actions are incorrect. Rest assured you are on your way to ridding yourself of the pop-up.

Browsers such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox have an opportunity to prevent these boxes from reappearing after you exit out of them. In the pop-up box, click the check field next to the “prevent additional dialogues” option and click OK.

If the pop-up window has yet to close, retry exiting out of the window. No additional dialogue boxes should appear at this point, allowing you to regain control of your computer.

If the pop-up window does not close after these steps or if the issue persists after a short period, contact your trusted IT team to remove the issue.

Under any circumstance, remember, these pop-ups are not viruses themselves and, if you follow the advice given in this article, they will cause no harm to your computer.

However, it is still best practice to run a full virus scan if this does occur to ensure you are unaffected.