The Auto-Dialer Virus Strikes Again

I’ve Been Infected By An Auto-Dialer Virus

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The Auto Dialer Virus Strikes Again – Here at Defending The

Net, we receive hundreds of e-mails daily regarding various

computer security issues. Because we receive so many e-mails

and requests for information, we typically write an article

that provides the answer. However, from time to time, we

receive requests that seem important, or critical in nature,

and do our best to try and help.

On October 4th, we received an e-mail from a visitor we felt

compelled to assist. This person appeared to have a home

computer infected with the Auto-Dialer virus, a malicious

piece of Malware that can cost you a tremendous amount of

time, and more importantly, money.

An Unwelcome Letter From a Long Distance Carrier

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Unfortunate results of the auto dialer virus – Our visitor

received a letter from a well known long distance carrier

indicating they had blocked all long distance calls from

their telephone number, the reason; there were hundreds of

phone calls to 1-900 numbers with fees in excess of $1,500.

Our visitor had contacted his internet provider, explained

to them what was going on, and the Internet provider

directed them to and article located here at Defending The

Net on auto-dialers.

The long distance carrier who contacted him was not even his

provider, they represented the company with the 1-900

number. He contacted the long distance provider and

explained to them that he had no idea what was going on and

that he has never dialed a 1-900 number. They explained that

there was nothing they could do for him and they were going

to turn over the charges to his local service provider for

collection.

As you can imagine, this was a very strange and stressful

time. The fact of the matter is, these auto-dialers can be

quite stealthy, masking themselves as legitimate software,

or installing themselves in a way that keeps you unaware it

has infected your system. These nefarious pieces of software

can even re-program your modem to turn off the speaker so

you are unaware that it is making unauthorized calls. I

cannot stress how dangerous and how much of a negative

impact something like this can have on your computer, and

your checkbook.

How Do I Protect Myself

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One thing you must always be aware of is what type of sites

you are visiting. If the sites you visit have tons of

pop-up’s and banners, some of which may be less than moral /

ethical, you can bet there is a high chance of getting

infected with something. There are other things you should

keep in mind or do on a routine basis:

1) Make sure you have anti-virus software installed and keep

the virus signatures up to date. Out of date virus

signatures are a major cause of computer infection;

2) Install spyware detection software, keep it up to date,

and run it regularly. I run mine at least twice a day. Some

of these software packages have real-time protection similar

to anti-virus software;

3) If you now have high-speed internet access, like cable or

DSL service, and you no longer need the internal modem for

faxes or anything else, remove the phone cable from the

modem or remove the modem from the computer altogether. Many

people leave these devices connected and are at risk for

auto-dialer impact; And,

4) If you are on a site that has a lot of pop-ups do not

just click OK when they present themselves. You may be

agreeing to something that can cause you problems.

Conclusion

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If you think you have become infected with an Auto-Dialer,

or receive a letter from a long distance carrier stating you

owe them money for 1-900 or like calls, contact your

telephone service provider right away. Also, disconnect your

modem to make sure no additional calls can be placed and run

your anti-virus / spyware detection software to try and

locate the problem. If you can’t locate the malicious

software, you will need to back up all your data and

reinstall your computers operating system. This is the only

“real” way to feel confident you have eradicated the

Auto-Dialer that infected your computer.

You may reprint or publish this article free of charge as

long as the bylines are included.



Source by Darren Miller