I went to help some friends with their computer last night. Internet Explorer had been badly compromised and some pop-up had tricked them into installing Brave Sentry…a program that claims to protect from spy-ware, but mainly tries to scare you into buying their product. AVG Free Version had quit running because it wanted a new version to be installed. Internet Explorer was redirecting everything to ad sites. In cleaning up the machine, I learned a lot about how people can be tricked by hackers. Most people don’t know the name of their anti-virus program and hackers know they can fake warnings from the web and trick people into clicking a link to install their programs. They had a virus that even had an official looking Windows update system. So, hackers have ironically taken all the advice that computer experts have given to novices and turned it against them. They simply masquerade as the very software that is supposed to protect the user. Maybe it’s time to switch novices to Ubuntu. In the end, I updated AVG and warned them to use Firefox instead of Internet Explorer.