Tuesday, 10 March 2009

4Shared Worries - Internet Safety

I had to slot in this extra post today as I noticed several comments about 4shared, here on the blog and posted around the Internet. Lots of people are worried about picking up a virus or Trojan from downloading via 4shared. So, I decided to try find out a little more about the problem, because no one wants a nasty little monster creeping around their computer!!!

First though let me say that we should NEVER depend on luck to keep our computer safe...that's what Virus scanners are for. It's up to us all to have an antivirus program protecting our PCs and to make sure that we keep it current with regular updates. Your antivirus program should do this automatically for you, as long as you have your computer on each day.  Make sure it is scheduled to do this daily.

It doesn't matter what sites you need protection at all times on the Internet!! So do a regular scan of your PC to make sure that you catch everything that tries to sneak through. There is no point in having the software if you don't use it correctly, so don't get fed up when the scan is running because it's slowing down your surfing...just let it do it's job and don't click the Cancel button!!

Now, back to 4shared!! The problem appears to be not from the files you are downloading, they get scanned first, but from the download pages that have advertising on them. It looks like some lovely little tike is having fun planting and playing on these.

It seems that the problem on 4shared comes from the pages with ads etc where you click and then wait several seconds for the download. You know, you click to download and then it takes you to a new page which counts down the seconds before you can download the file you want. The idea being that then you see the ads whilst you wait.

My downloads are direct, meaning you don't go to a 4shared page but get a small popup box to download from there. This is only available if you have a subscription to 4shared though. You never go to a 4shared download page to wait. But I do understand peoples concerns in not downloading my files.

How large the problem really is, is impossible to guess. It only takes a few posts in forums or blogs and news travels like wild fire so that it seems huge, often it's not.

Something we all should do is develop good habits when download files. Make a quarantine folder and always download all files into it. This means you can scan them again before you unzip or move them to where you want on your hard drive.  A bit more work I admit but I believe in belt and braces can never be too cautious. Do this with ALL files you download no matter where they are from...yes even mine!!

But remember viruses can get you anywhere, anytime, any to increase you chances of staying safe always:

  1. Make sure that you have a good antivirus program installed on your computer and keep the program  up dated.
  2. Scan you system regularly for any nasties, once a week at least do a full scan.
  3. NEVER open up any popup windows that offers to scan your system that just appear.
  4. NEVER open a file or unzip a file you don't recognize.
  5. Take extra care or avoid sites that are known to be laden with viruses or malware, such as Facebook or My Space. (Sorry folks it's true, my kids used to get them regularly from these!!)
  6. Make a "quarantine file" for your downloads and always scan zip files before you open or move them.

If you follow the basic rules it won't guarantee you always stay clean but it will certainly help cut down on the chances of catching something nasty out there!!

Having said all that...don't become paranoid..there are lots of wonderful places awaiting you on the Internet that are safe. It's just a case of using common sense measures to try to lower the chances of catching a virus...a bit like a flu jab to help lower the odds of us getting the flu in Winter!!

Stay safe and I hope this helped.


Maryse said...

Will have I a candy if I tell you that I allready made this? ;p
I never had troubles with viruses :)

juno said...

Hi June!
Thanks for this, you went to a lot of trouble with it and it's all good advice. I like the idea of a Quarantine Folder as belt and braces, think I'll adopt this too. Also good to be aware that the browser you use makes a difference as does the operating system. I use Mozilla Firefox and Vista because of their security reputations.
BTW, Firefox has an Add-On that blocks those ads on 4shared :)

Ellay said...

Thanks so much for the info and the tips! I've not had problems so far, and I'd like to keep it that way. I will definitely be careful! And will keep coming back for your awesome stuff!! :)

Kim's Scrappin' said...

Great ideas June, which I've been downloading into a folder that I label Downloads for a LONG time, then I ALWAYS rescan whatever has been downloaded again before it is opened. Might I also add that there are several good FREE anti-virus protections out there. A couple I can think of are AVG and AVAST. These are both home editions. There may be more just do a search on Google.

Stash Empress said...

These are all great ideas --- in addition --- from what I've read the current problem seems to be limited to Internet Explorer --- there seems to be a hole in it big enough to drive a Mack truck through -- which the nasty folks are taking advantage of! Mozilla Firefox has proven safer & when I go to 4shared in Mozilla I don't have those ads at the top that you get in Internet Explorer -- just another helpful hint people might benefit from!

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eilajean said...

Thanks for the info... and I seem to have found a little more here. Maybe I should go with firefox. I use a good virus scan, and it has caught a few - so yay... You put alot of work into this. I would like to link back to this post, as this has come up recently on a few sites I follow... and who follow me.

You are awesome!



Yvette said...

Thank you for this post. You can never be to careful. I am one of the paranoid type but it does not stop me from enjoy the internet and yours and other scrappers blogs. I just do a lot of extra viruses scanning. My scanner scans everything: e-mail, downloads even websites. I also do a full system scan at least three times a week. I run the scans in the wee hours of the morning.

Anonymous said...

I like your positive outlook on this. I too have a subscription at 4 shared and offer direct downloads.
The Cancel button on the Virus program is very tempting at times, but it is better to just leet it scan. Thanks fo making it seem not so bad.

Cindyrelly said...

Hey June... I wish you had this info. about a month ago. That was when I got a bad infection. I am guilty of not always updating my virus software but those aren't always ahead of the game either. Apparently something disabled my automatic updates from Microsoft and Voila... I was "Infected!" Talk about frustrating... my hubby cleaned it all up with a combo of several programs and then lo and behold I got infected yet again. We are going to wipe out the HD and reload it all. He is going to teach me how to do all that but so far I haven't done it. It works well enough but I do have another pc that I can use to. It certainly has been a learning experience LOL ;)

gabbyfowl said...

Unfortunately I got hit at 4shared with my antivirus running, and with automatic updates on it and my Vista. I had to completely reload Vista and all my programs. I had moved most everything to an external hard drive and scan it every time also. Nothing ever showed in the scans. I will try the download folder that is a great idea. Good luck to all of us and hopefully these hackers will find something else to do. Thanks for all your wonderful freebies and info.

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Shinade said...

I never ever thought to create a separate folder!! Great idea....TYVM!!:-)

Shinade said...

Thank you so much June for dropping by and also for understanding!!