WASHINGTON D.C. (KAIT) - Drop that mouse! Or at least, open those eyes and pay close attention. The FBI says your inbox could have a new resident in it that is not welcome: The Storm Worm virus.
It's a virus that puts your computer on a sort-of network, or botnet, of computers under the remote command of a criminal "botherder." Most of the people affected aren't even aware until it is too late.
With their computers taken over by remote, unknown to the owner, the computer will then be used to facilitate crimes like identity theft, denial of service attacks, phishing, click fraud and mass distribution of spam and spyware.
"The spammers spreading this virus are preying on Internet users and making their computers an unwitting part of criminal botnet activity. We urge citizens to help prevent the spread of botnets by becoming web-savvy. Following some simple computer security practices will reduce the risk that their computers will be compromised," said Special Agent Richard Kolko, Chief, FBI National Press Office.
To keep your PC safe, the FBI suggests these steps:
- Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) e-mail.
- Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as officials soliciting personal information via e-mail.
- Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited e-mail.
- Be cautious of e-mail claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.
- Validate the legitimacy of the organization by directly accessing the organization's Web site rather than following an alleged link to the site.
- Do not provide personal or financial information to anyone who solicits information.
Finally, the one step that can't go wrong: be suspicious! Your computer is an extension of you and just like you wouldn't let someone walk into your home that you didn't know, you shouldn't open e-mails and files from people you don't know.