Secure messaging apps

Messaging apps: We're using them more often, to perform a broadening variety of tasks -- sharing photos and documents, ordering food, making payments, summoning chatbots for help. For many users, messaging is already preferable to email and phone calls. But the more you do with your messaging apps, and the more personal information you entrust to them, the more protection they should offer.

The truth is, not all messengers are secure messaging apps. They differ greatly in their privacy... Read More »

Topics: Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: Security Center , security and antivirus center , security , howto-security

Two-step verification 101

Two-step verification is just an app's way of asking you for two forms of ID. You keep a lot of private information in your apps and online accounts -- home address, photos of your kids, credit card numbers, maybe even health details -- and usually that sensitive data is secured with just one line of defense, your password. A strong password helps, and so does a password manager, but for a hard-to-hack second line of defense,... Read More »

Topics: Security Software , Mac Software , Android Software , iOS Software

Tags: security , Windows software , howto-security

Root out hidden infections with HijackThis

Editors' note: This article was first published on February 27, 2008, and was titled, "Clean your PC with Trend Micro HijackThis." It was updated on May 21, 2009.

Malware has gotten more sophisticated at hiding its tracks compared with a few years ago. Adware, it seems, with its pop-ups and unwanted browser toolbars, has taken a backseat to the sly, ever-dangerous, and much more lucrative realm of the botnet, also known as that class of malware that conscripts your computer into... Read More »

Tags: Windows , malware , spyware , Windows software , Trend Micro , howto-security

9 tips for avoiding suspicious Web sites

Editor's Note: This article was updated on 5/8/09 from a previous version published on 3/3/08, and the original, published on 12/15/06.

No matter how you arrive at an unsafe Web site, it's all downhill from there. Phishers will attempt to coerce you into disclosing your address, credit card number, or social security number. Or maybe adware engines will start sprouting pop-ups over your screen like a field of clover. Worse, your computer may become part of a botnet, its processing power... Read More »

Tags: howto-security

New scareware sends you to fake reviews

Last week, reported on how to remove a new variant of an old scareware. This new nasty, known most commonly as Antivirus2010 or Anti-Virus-1, points you to spoofed versions of, ZDNet,, and other software sites, demanding that you download their program to clean your computer. Of course, it does nothing of the sort, merely perpetuating the infection.

However, the manner and methods Anti-Virus-1 uses to get you there are extremely clever. The infection part of... Read More »

Tags: malware , virus , Windows software , howto-security , Trojan

How to use AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 8.0

If you're thinking of switching to free antivirus protection, or are looking for a different program to try, AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition is a rock-solid choice. Incidentally, it's also the most-downloaded security application on CNET

Yet, it's not enough to follow the crowd. What if you dislike the interface? Or decide that the free edition doesn't give you as comprehensive a protection package as you'd like? These things happen, you know.

Hence this slide show, which attempts to... Read More »

Tags: antivirus , security , spyware , Windows software , AVG , howto-security

How to remove Antivirus XP 2008

Update: Revised instructions to include folder deletion.

Antivirus XP 2008 is back, unfortunately. It's not an antivirus app, but a cleverly disguised rogue security application that tries to get you to buy the non-existent "security" it's selling. Advertised using the common tricks of Trojans and faux security alerts, this nasty piece of malware can take over your desktop settings to mimic safe mode, display fake virus detections, and opens a faux Internet Explorer window stating that Google has detected a malware... Read More »

Tags: malware , virus , Windows software , howto-security , Trojan

Quick Tip: Closing pop-ups the safe way

Confronting a pop-up is one of those times when your gut reaction might lead you down the path of frustration and tears. If the "X" is spring-loaded with malware, anywhere you click on the pop-up could trigger that virus.

This is the path less traveled--the majority of pop-ups truly are the ads they appear to be--but when a pop-up does deliver malware, undoing the damage could be a tense, jittery journey. We get enough panicky Spyware Horror Story submissions to... Read More »

Tags: howto-security , Quick Tip

How to use Spybot-Search & Destroy

Editor's note: This article, originally published by Brian Satterfield, was republished on 3/5/08.

These days, using only one antispyware program is like playing with fire: sooner or later, you're going to get burned. Since not all spyware-combat tools share identical databases, we recommend running as many tools as you can get your mitts on--and Spybot - Search & Destroy, a time-tested and free application, should be part of your arsenal. The program might not have as pretty a face as some... Read More »

Tags: howto-security

Beat back that Trojan horse

Editor's note: This article was updated on February 21, 2008. The original was published on February 28, 2007.

Like its mythical namesake (dramatized in Lego), whatever crawls out of a digital Trojan horse will be a nasty surprise. A Trojan horse usually takes the form of an innocuous software program that unleashes a flood of malware or viruses after it's installed and run. Since attacks and ease of removal vary--an ad generator is easier to remove than a stealth rootkit--there's no... Read More »

Tags: howto-security , Kaspersky