Security Advisory: multiple security vendors have reported and Adobe has acknowledged vulnerabilities in versions of Flash Player for OS X and Windows prior to 11.6.602.180. ISC strongly suggests upgrading to Flash Player 11.6.602.180. For more information, click here. [March 12, 2013]
Virus Tip: Protect against Spyware and Adware
What is Spyware and Adware?
Spyware and Adware programs generally are intended to force you to view ads or visit certain websites, while spyware programs attempt to monitor which sites you visit on the Internet. They may also attempt to steal passwords and credit card information.
How to Protect your Computer from Spyware and Adware
The below tips will help protect your computer from spyware and adware. Windows users should also frequently run a spyware removal tool. Two free, quality anti-spyware programs for Windows-based computers are: Ad-Aware and Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware .
Note: Some Schools and organizations have specific recommendations or processes concerning privacy-invasion software. Faculty and staff should speak with their LSP if they have specific questions or concerns about any of the following practices.
Click on a plus sign [+] to view additional information and a minus sign [-] to hide it.
Keep your operating system currrent with the latest patches and updates.
Spyware creators are constantly changing their tactics to exploit systems. Remember, adware and spyware are installed in the background without your knowledge.
Keep your antivirus software updated on a regular basis.
Don't surf the web with an administrative user account.
Set your browser to block pop-up windows.
Browser software distributed at Penn is automatically configured to disable pop-ups. For instructions on how to configure your browser to allow pop-ups for selected websites (recognizing that some Penn websites require pop-ups), see Configuring your Web Browser to Allow Pop-Ups
. If you seem to be getting an excessive amount of pop-ups, ask your LSP to take a look, there's a good chance there may be adware installed on your computer.
Don't install non-recommended spyware remover.
Several of the common free spyware removal tools are, in fact, spyware themselves. Two free, quality anti-spyware programs for Windows are: Ad-Aware
and Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware
. (The free versions will require that you run scans manually -- there is no option to set automatic scanning).
Keep your web browser up to date.
See the Supported Products website
for the current browsers supported at Penn, and stay alert to vendor notices for web browser patches.
Read before you download.
Read all security warnings, license agreements, and privacy statements associated with any software you download.
Only download programs and images from websites you trust.
If unsure about a program or website, enter the name of the program into your favorite search engine to see if anyone else has reported that it contains spyware or ask your LSP .
Never click "agree" or "OK" to close a window.
Instead, click the red "x" in the corner of the window or press the Alt + F4 (Windows) or ⌘ W (Mac) on your keyboard to close a window.
Be wary of popular "free" music and movie file-sharing programs.
Make sure you clearly understand all of the software packaged with those programs.
Be familiar with your browser's privacy and security settings for browsing the web.
Review how your privacy and security settings for browsing the web:
- Internet Explorer: From the Tools menu, select Internet Options > Security Level for this Zone panel > Select Medium-High or High. (IE users should always keep or set security for the Internet Zone to medium or higher).
- Safari: From the Preferences menu, select Security.
- Firefox: From the Tools menu, select Options > select the Privacy icon and the Security icon.
Set your browser to ask permission to accept any cookies.
This may, however, be too intrusive. What's a cookie? See Webopedia
for a good explanation.
Periodically review and clear your browser's cache, cookies, and history.
Each time you visit a web page through your browser, the browser caches or stores it. The cache allows your browser to download only the content that has changed since you last viewed a web page. A cookie is a file created on your computer at the request of a website you are visiting. Cookies store information such as your selections in a form, log-in data, and shopping cart contents. Cookies are usually set to expire from the browser at a certain date.
To clear your cache, cookies, and history manually, or configure your browser to empty the its cache automatically on closing: