Archive

Archive for the ‘virus’ Category

Is Windows Security Center real or rogue?

July 22nd, 2014 No comments

A reader writes:

What kind of warnings from Windows Security Center are real, and what should I do about them?

Windows Security Center is a feature that was introduced in Windows XP Service Pack 2 and was also included in Windows Vista. (Action Center replaced Windows Security Center in Windows 7.)

Security Center checks the security status on your computer, including:

  • Firewall settings

  • Windows automatic updating

  • Antivirus software settings

  • Internet security settings

  • User Account Control settings

If Security Center detects a security problem, it displays a notification and puts a Security Center icon  in the notification area. Click the notification or double-click the Security Center icon Security Center Icon to open Security Center and get information about how to fix the problem.

Is Windows Security Center a virus?

In the years since Security Center was introduced, cybercriminals have created several different kinds of malware that look like Security Center or have the same name. If you have this malware on your computer, it might lure you into a fraudulent transaction, steal your personal information, or slow down your computer. This kind of malware is called “rogue security software.” Learn how to spot and avoid these fake virus alerts.

How do I know if the warnings are real?

  1. If you think a warning looks suspicious, the first thing you can do is run antivirus software on your computer, which might let you know if you have a virus. Learn more about antivirus software for your operating system.
  2. To check your knowledge of real security warnings and fake security warnings, and to learn how to help protect your computer and personal information, take our quiz.

Get the latest security updates and find out what to do if your computer is running Windows XP

April 8th, 2014 No comments

Microsoft releases security updates on the second Tuesday of every month.

Support for Windows XP has ended

Microsoft has provided support for Windows XP for the past 12 years. But the time has come for us, along with our hardware and software partners, to invest our resources toward supporting more recent technologies so that we can continue to deliver great new experiences.

As a result, technical assistance for Windows XP will no longer be available, including automatic updates that help protect your PC. Microsoft will also stop providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP on this date. (If you already have Microsoft Security Essentials installed, you will continue to receive antimalware signature updates for a limited time, but this does not mean that your PC will be secure because Microsoft will no longer provide security updates to help protect your PC.)

More information

How to get rid of malware that keeps coming back

March 27th, 2014 No comments

Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials can get rid of most malware, but here’s what you can do if it comes back.

  1. Make sure you have automatic updating turned on. This feature ensures that you have the latest security improvements from Microsoft installed on your computer. If you’re using other antivirus software, make sure that it is up to date with the latest malware definitions.
  1. Restart your PC.
  2. Run a full scan:
    1. Open your Microsoft security software.
    2. On the Home tab, under Scan options, click Full.
    3. Click Scan now.

 A full scan can take an hour or more, depending on how many files you have on your PC.

Get more advanced troubleshooting for malware that keeps coming back.

Once your computer is clean, take these steps to help keep it clean.

Get security updates for March 2014

March 11th, 2014 No comments

Microsoft releases security updates on the second Tuesday of every month.

Skip the details and check for the latest updates.

This bulletin announces the release of security updates for Windows, Microsoft Word, and other programs.

To get more information about security updates and other privacy and security issues delivered to your email inbox, sign up for our newsletter.

How do I know if I already have antivirus software?

February 21st, 2014 No comments

If your computer is running Windows 8

If your computer is running Windows 8, you already have antivirus software. Windows 8 includes Windows Defender, which helps protect you from viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.

If Windows Defender is turned off and you don’t have another antivirus program installed (or your other antivirus program is not working), you will see a warning in the notification area on your taskbar.

If your computer is running Windows 7

Windows 7 includes spyware protection, but to protect against viruses you can download Microsoft Security Essentials for free.

To find out if you already have antivirus software:

  1. Open Action Center by clicking the Start button , clicking Control Panel, and then, under System and Security, clicking Review your computer’s status.
  2. Click the arrow button  next to Security to expand the section.

If Windows can detect your antivirus software, it’s listed under Virus protection.

Windows doesn’t detect all antivirus software, and some antivirus software doesn’t report its status to Windows. If your antivirus software isn’t displayed in Action Center and you’re not sure how to find it, try any of the following:

  • Type the name of the software or the publisher in the Search box on the Start menu.
  • Look for your antivirus program’s icon in the notification area of the taskbar.

If your computer is running Windows Vista

Windows Vista does not include virus protection. To protect against viruses, you can download Microsoft Security Essentials for free.

The status of your antivirus software is typically displayed in Windows Security Center.

  1. Open Security Center by clicking the Start button , clicking Control Panel, clicking Security, and then clicking Security Center.
  2. Click Malware protection.

If Windows can detect your antivirus software, it will be listed under Virus protection.

Windows does not detect all antivirus software, and some antivirus software doesn’t report its status to Windows. If your antivirus software is not displayed in Windows Security Center and you’re not sure how to find it, try any of the following:

  • Look for the antivirus software in the list of programs on the Start menu.
  • Type the name of the software or the publisher in the Search box on the Start menu.
  • Look for the icon in the notification area of the taskbar.

If your computer is running Windows XP

Click the security icon on the taskbar, or click Start, select Control Panel, and then double-click Security Center.

On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will end support for Windows XP. This means that after April 8, there will be no new security updates available through automatic updating for computers that are still running Windows XP.

Also on this date, Microsoft will stop providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP. (If you already have Microsoft Security Essentials installed, you will continue to receive antimalware signature updates for a limited time, but this does not mean that your PC will be secure because Microsoft will no longer provide security updates to protect it.)

For more information, see Support is ending soon.

Get more information about upgrading to Windows 7 and Windows 8.

I don’t know what operating system my computer is running

Find out what operating system your computer is running

 

 

Do I need anything besides Windows Defender?

January 16th, 2014 No comments

A reader asks:

If I have Windows Defender, do I need to buy anything else to protect my computer?

If your computer is running the Windows 8 operating system, Windows Defender will help protect you from viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. You don’t need to buy anything else. 

If your computer is running Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP, Windows Defender removes spyware, but to protect yourself from viruses, you’ll need to download antivirus software. You can purchase it from a third party, or you can download Microsoft Security Essentials for free.

More ways to protect against viruses and other malware

Run newer software. Advanced security technologies in modern operating systems are specifically designed to make it more difficult, more complex, more expensive, and therefore, less appealing to cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities.

Regularly install updates for all your software. Update your antivirus and antispyware programs, browsers (like Windows Internet Explorer), operating systems (like Windows), and word processing and other programs. Learn how to turn on automatic updating.

Make sure your firewall is turned on. A firewall will also help protect against viruses and hackers. Find out if your version of Windows has a built-in firewall.

For more information, see How to remove and avoid computer viruses.

10 New Year’s resolutions for your digital devices and your online life

December 31st, 2013 No comments

It’s a new year, which means it’s time to resolve to create healthier habits in our daily lives. But we don’t have to stop at just improving our body, mind, and spirit. It’s also a good idea to resolve to keep our PCs, laptops, smartphones, and social networking sites healthy this year.

1. Keep your software up to date. You can help protect against viruses, fraud, and more by keeping your operating system, antivirus software, antispyware software, web browser, and other software updated. Microsoft releases security updates on the second Tuesday of every month. Learn how to get security updates automatically.

2. Create strong passwords, keep them secret, and change them regularly. This is particularly important for those passwords that safeguard your computer, important accounts (like email or Facebook), and sensitive information, like financial and health data. Get more information about creating strong passwords and protecting them.

3. Use antivirus software. If your computer is running Windows 8, you can use the built-in Windows Defender to help you detect and get rid of spyware and other malware. If your computer is running Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP, Windows Defender removes spyware.

4. Check and adjust your privacy settings. You can participate in the online world and keep your information private. Learn more about how to manage your privacy settings in Windows, Internet Explorer, your Microsoft account, Windows Phone, and more. 

Watch a video about privacy in action (1:19).

5. Teach your children about online safety. Before kids use computers, gaming consoles, or mobile devices, make sure you agree on clear limits, talk about how to keep accounts and passwords secret, and help them stand up to online bullying. If your child got a new device this holiday season, read this checklist for safety tips.

6. Monitor your children’s online behaviors, and continue to talk to them about Internet safety. If your kids are online, it’s important to have regular online safety conversations and to continue to keep track of what they’re doing. For more information, see Age-based guidelines for kids’ Internet use.

7. Upgrade to modern software that provides the latest security technologies and protections. Advanced security technologies in modern operating systems are specifically designed to make it more difficult, more complex, more expensive, and therefore, less appealing to cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities. Learn more about how support for Windows XP ends this year.

8. Use SkyDrive to help protect your personal information. Ransomware is a type of malware designed to infiltrate your computer and hold your files (photos, documents, reports, etc.) hostage until you pay the demanded amount of money to a cybercriminal. One of the best ways to protect your files is to back them up using a removable drive or a cloud service like SkyDrive.

9. Explore new tools for PC protection. If you feel comfortable performing more advanced computer tasks, consider downloading the free Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET), which will make it even more difficult for malicious hackers and cybercriminals to get into your computer.

10. Ignore fake tech support phone calls. Neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls (also known as cold calls) to charge you for computer security or software fixes. If you receive a suspicious phone call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft, all you have to do is hang up. For more information, see Avoid tech support phone scams.

 

EMET: A valuable tool for PC protection

October 18th, 2013 No comments

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you’ve probably already taken steps to help protect your PC. You have antivirus software that you trust and you keep it updated automatically. You’ve activated your firewall. You regularly install security updates. You know not to respond to suspicious emails or to click links with promises that seem too good to be true.

Today we’d like to tell you about an advanced tool that complements your existing defenses, making it even more difficult for malicious hackers and cybercriminals to get into your computer. If you feel comfortable performing more advanced computer tasks, consider downloading the free Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET).

EMET is a free tool available for Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. EMET works by taking advantage of security technologies that already exist on your PC, but might not be used by all of your programs. EMET helps protect your computer from new or undiscovered threats until they can be addressed through formal security updates. Katie Couric, a journalist and a talk show host, recently hosted a segment called Protect Your Computers from Hackers and recommended that families install and use EMET.

Download EMET now

Once installed, EMET works quietly in the background without interrupting your computer use. Like any security tool, EMET doesn’t guarantee that you’ll never have any problems, but it does make it much harder for an attacker to succeed.

Already using EMET? Get support or join the EMET forum.

3 ways to speed up your PC

October 15th, 2013 No comments

Here are three ways to speed up a sluggish computer.

1.       Scan your computer for viruses

If your computer is slow or restarts often, it could be infected with a virus or other malicious software.

If you have Windows 8, you can use the built-in Windows Defender to help you get rid of a virus or other malware. If you have Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP, scan your computer with the Microsoft Safety Scanner. Or get help at the Virus and Security Solution Center.

For more information, see How to avoid and remove computer viruses.

2.       Turn on automatic updating

One of the easiest things you can do to speed up your PC is to make sure that your operating system and software are kept up to date. Learn how to get security updates automatically.

Is your computer sluggish, or is it just your web browser? The newest version of Internet Explorer is Internet Explorer 10. It’s included with Windows 8, and you can download it for free for other versions of Windows. Learn more about security in Internet Explorer 10.

 

3.       Upgrade your operating system

If you’re still using Windows XP, you could speed up your PC by upgrading to Windows 8 or Windows 7.

Support for Windows XP ends on April 8, 2014. You can get solutions to your Windows XP security issues now, but not for too much longer. If you’re still using Windows XP, you’re missing out on all kinds of security, productivity, and performance enhancements available in Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Find out what end of support for Windows XP means to you.

If your computer is still slow, you can try limiting how many programs run at start up, deleting software and files you don’t need, or following these additional tips to speed up your PC.

Get advance notice about October 2013 security updates

October 3rd, 2013 No comments

Today, the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) posted details about the October security updates.

If you have automatic updating turned on, most of these updates will download and install on their own. Sometimes you may need to provide input for Windows Update during an installation. In this case, you’ll see an alert in the notification area at the far right of the taskbar—be sure to click it.

In Windows 8, Windows will turn on automatic updating during setup unless you choose to turn it off. To check this setting and turn on automatic updating, open the Search charm, enter Turn automatic updating on or off, and tap or click Settings to find it. 

For other versions of Windows, you can check whether automatic updating is turned on through the Microsoft Update website. This will open Windows Update in Control Panel; if automatic updating is not turned on, you’ll be guided through the steps to set it up. After that, all the latest security and performance improvements will be installed on your PC quickly and reliably.

If you are a technical professional

The Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification Service offers details about security updates approximately three business days before they are released. We do this to enable customers (especially IT professionals) to plan for effective deployment of security updates.

Sign up for security notifications

Get free or paid support for your malware problem

September 24th, 2013 No comments

Is your computer running slowly? Are programs starting unexpectedly? Is the activity light on your broadband or external modem constantly lit? Does it sound like your computer’s hard disk is continually working?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, your computer might be infected with malware.

Scan your PC for viruses

If you suspect that your computer has a virus, you can download the Microsoft Safety Scanner. The Microsoft Safety Scanner is a free downloadable security tool that provides on-demand scanning and helps remove viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.

Download the Microsoft Safety Scanner

Get help from the Microsoft forums

If you’ve scanned your computer and you can’t get rid of the virus, you might be able to get free help from the Microsoft Community. Check out the Viruses and Malware forum.

Get help from a Microsoft Answer Tech for $99

If you want to pay for help, a Microsoft Answer Tech can help track down viruses, malware, and spyware.  

Chat with an Answer Tech now

Check security settings in Windows Vista

September 3rd, 2013 No comments

The newest version of Windows is Windows 8, but we know that many of you still use Windows Vista.

The best way to ensure that Windows Vista is as secure as it can be is to use the Windows Security Center, which is built into Windows Vista.

The Windows Security Center can help you check the status of several security features on your computer, including firewall settings, Windows automatic updating, anti-malware software settings, Internet security settings, and User Account Control settings.

To get to the Window Security Center, click the Start button , click Control Panel, click Security, and then click Security Center. If Windows detects a problem (for example, if your antivirus program is out of date), Security Center displays a notification and places a Security Center icon  in the notification area. Click the notification or double-click the Security Center icon to open Security Center and get information about how to fix the problem.

Download Microsoft Security Essentials

Windows 8 comes with Windows Defender to help protect your PC from viruses and other kinds of malware.

For Windows Vista, you can download Microsoft Security Essentials to help guard against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.

Get more security information for Windows Vista

How do I keep my firewall on?

August 27th, 2013 No comments

Using a firewall is like locking the front door to your house—it helps keep intruders (in this case, hackers and malicious software) from getting in. Windows Firewall is included in Windows and is turned on by default.

If you see a warning that your firewall is turned off, it could be because:

  • You or someone else has turned off your firewall.
  • You or someone else has installed antivirus software that includes a firewall and that disables Windows Firewall.
  • The warnings that you see are fake alerts, caused by malicious software.

You do not need to turn off your firewall

There are two ways to allow an app or a program through a firewall. Both are risky, but not as risky as turning off your firewall. Learn how to allow an app through a firewall in Windows 8 or Windows 7.

Check your firewall settings in Windows 8

If you think your firewall is turned off, open Windows Firewall by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you’re using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search). Type firewall in the search box, tap or click Settings, and then tap or click Windows Firewall.

In the left pane, tap or click Turn Windows Firewall on or off . You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.

For more information, see Windows Firewall from start to finish.

Check your firewall settings in Windows 7 and Windows Vista

If you think your firewall is turned off, follow these steps:

  1. Open Windows Firewall by clicking the Start button , and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type firewall, and then click Windows Firewall.
  2. In the left pane, click Turn Windows Firewall on or off.  If you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  3. Below each network location type, click Turn on Windows Firewall, and then click OK. We recommend that you turn on the firewall for all network location types.

You don’t need antivirus software that includes a firewall

Because Windows comes with a firewall, you don’t need to install an additional one. You don’t need to buy or download antivirus software that includes a firewall.

Windows 8 also comes with built-in antivirus software that is turned on by default, so you do not need to install other antivirus software.

If your computer is running Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP, you may want to install antivirus software to help protect your computer. You can install Microsoft Security Essentials for free. If you’ve already installed other antivirus software, you will need to uninstall the other antivirus software before you install Microsoft Security Essentials.

Microsoft Security Essentials includes integration with Windows Firewall, so you can turn Windows Firewall on by using Microsoft Security Essentials.

Watch out for fake alerts

Rogue security software is malicious software that might display fake warnings telling you that your firewall is turned off, even if it isn’t. If you think your computer is infected with rogue secure software, use your antivirus software or do a free scan with the Microsoft Safety Scanner. For more information, read Watch out for fake virus alerts.

Why does my AV software keep turning off?

July 25th, 2013 No comments

Bob writes:

My antivirus software keeps turning off and I can’t get it back on.

Here are the most common reasons you might encounter this problem:

Your computer is already infected with rogue security software

The warning that you’re antivirus software is turned off might be a fake alert, also known as “rogue security software.” This type of warning is designed to fool you into downloading malicious software or paying for antivirus software. Take our Real vs. Rogue quiz to see if you can identify the difference.”

You have more than one antivirus program

Your antivirus software could turn off if you try to install another antivirus program. Running more than one antivirus program at the same time can cause conflicts and errors that make your antivirus protection less effective or not effective at all.

You might have a virus

Some viruses can disable your antivirus software or disable updates to your antivirus software. Viruses can also prevent you from going online to update or reinstall your antivirus software.

For troubleshooting help, see What to do if your antivirus software stops working.

How to get rid of a computer virus

June 25th, 2013 No comments

Is your computer running more slowly than usual? Does it stop responding or freeze often? It might have a virus.

If you can connect to the Internet

These instructions are different depending on which operating system you’re using.

Check your operating system

Windows 8

If your computer is running Windows 8, you can use the built-in Windows Defender to get rid of the virus or other malware.

Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP

If your computer is running Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP, do the following:

  • Run the Microsoft Safety Scanner. The scanner can be used with any kind of antivirus software (not just antivirus software from Microsoft).
  • Download Microsoft Security Essentials for free. (Note: Some viruses will prevent you from downloading Microsoft Security Essentials.)

If you can’t connect to the Internet

Windows Defender Offline works with Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

Use another computer to download Windows Defender Offline and create a CD, DVD, or USB flash drive.

Windows Defender (built in to Windows 8), Microsoft Security Essentials, and other antivirus software use the Internet to download the latest updates to fight new malware. Windows Defender Offline helps protect against advanced malware that can’t always be detected by antivirus software.

Learn how to use Windows Defender Offline

Learn more

Security researchers: Get paid to thwart cybercriminals. We want your help fighting potential viruses. Microsoft has announced three new bounty programs that offer cash payments in exchange for reporting certain vulnerabilities in and techniques for exploiting Internet Explorer, Windows, and other Microsoft programs. Visit Microsoft.com/BountyPrograms for details.

There is no Hotmail Maintenance Department

June 13th, 2013 No comments

Cassie writes:

I received an email from the Hotmail Maintenance Department requesting personal information verification. The message included a PDF file. Is this a scam?

Yes. This is one of many types of email cybercrime, also called phishing. Cybercriminals often use the Microsoft name to try to get you to share your personal information so that they can use it for identity theft. Delete the message—do not open it, and do not click any links or open any attachments.

The Hotmail Maintenance Department doesn’t exist—and if it did, the department wouldn’t send unsolicited email messages with attachments that asked for your personal information. Be suspicious of any email messages that appear to come from the Hotmail team; even though your email address still says “Hotmail,” the service is now called Outlook.com.

For more tips on spotting scam email messages, see How to recognize phishing email messages, links, or phone calls.

If you opened the PDF file, your computer might already be infected with malware that can be used to steal your personal information. Scan your computer with the Microsoft Safety Scanner to find out. The scanner will also help you remove any malicious software it finds.

Should I use more than one antivirus program?

January 22nd, 2013 No comments

You don’t need to install more than one antivirus program. In fact, running more than one antivirus program at the same time can cause conflicts and errors that make your antivirus protection less effective or not effective at all.

Windows 7 and Windows Vista include spyware protection called Windows Defender. To help fight both viruses and spyware, you can download Microsoft Security Essentials at no cost. If you download Microsoft Security Essentials, Windows Defender will be disabled automatically. Make sure to uninstall any other antivirus software (whether you installed it or it came preinstalled) on your computer first.

Windows 8 includes antivirus and antispyware protection called Windows Defender. Windows Defender for Windows 8 replaces Microsoft Security Essentials. It runs in the background and notifies you when you need to take specific action. If you install a different antivirus program, Windows Defender will be disabled automatically. 

Note: You might see a warning that Microsoft Security Essentials has been turned off because you have other antivirus software on your computer that automatically turns off Microsoft Security Essentials. This type of warning could also be a fake virus alert that attempts to fool you into downloading malicious software. For examples of such rogue security software, see our Real vs. Rogue Facebook app.

For more information, see How to boost your malware defense and protect your PC.

Should I use more than one antivirus program?

January 22nd, 2013 No comments

You don’t need to install more than one antivirus program. In fact, running more than one antivirus program at the same time can cause conflicts and errors that make your antivirus protection less effective or not effective at all.

Windows 7 and Windows Vista include spyware protection called Windows Defender. To help fight both viruses and spyware, you can download Microsoft Security Essentials at no cost. If you download Microsoft Security Essentials, Windows Defender will be disabled automatically. Make sure to uninstall any other antivirus software (whether you installed it or it came preinstalled) on your computer first.

Windows 8 includes antivirus and antispyware protection called Windows Defender. Windows Defender for Windows 8 replaces Microsoft Security Essentials. It runs in the background and notifies you when you need to take specific action. If you install a different antivirus program, Windows Defender will be disabled automatically. 

Note: You might see a warning that Microsoft Security Essentials has been turned off because you have other antivirus software on your computer that automatically turns off Microsoft Security Essentials. This type of warning could also be a fake virus alert that attempts to fool you into downloading malicious software. For examples of such rogue security software, see our Real vs. Rogue Facebook app.

For more information, see How to boost your malware defense and protect your PC.

Top 10 security stories of 2012

December 27th, 2012 No comments

From the latest scams and fraud to how, when, and why to update your computer, here are the stories that you viewed and clicked on the most this year.

Download security update for Internet Explorer. In September, Microsoft released a security update for Internet Explorer. To help protect your computer, visit Windows Update to download and install the update and ensure that you have automatic updating turned on.

Update your browserIn February, if you had automatic updating turned on, Windows Update automatically upgraded you to Internet Explorer 9.  Now you can get Internet Explorer 10.

Is my computer up to date? In March, you clicked on this blog entry to learn how to turn on automatic updating and to make sure that your computer had all of the latest updates.

Beware of ransomware. Nearly a year ago, a lot of you stopped by to learn about the resurgence of this scam. It launches a pop-up window warning that illegal material has been found on your computer and then locks you out of your computer unless you pay a fee. It’s still around, and we recently offered new guidance to help you deal with it.

Protect yourself from online tracking. Earlier this year we reported on Tracking Protection, which was a new feature in Internet Explorer 9. Read more about how user privacy protection has evolved and why it is turned on by default in Internet Explorer 10.

Here are five more stories that were popular with you this year:

For more information on the top online safety stories of this year, visit the Trustworthy Computing blog.
 
 

Top 10 security stories of 2012

December 27th, 2012 No comments

From the latest scams and fraud to how, when, and why to update your computer, here are the stories that you viewed and clicked on the most this year.

Download security update for Internet Explorer. In September, Microsoft released a security update for Internet Explorer. To help protect your computer, visit Windows Update to download and install the update and ensure that you have automatic updating turned on.

Update your browserIn February, if you had automatic updating turned on, Windows Update automatically upgraded you to Internet Explorer 9.  Now you can get Internet Explorer 10.

Is my computer up to date? In March, you clicked on this blog entry to learn how to turn on automatic updating and to make sure that your computer had all of the latest updates.

Beware of ransomware. Nearly a year ago, a lot of you stopped by to learn about the resurgence of this scam. It launches a pop-up window warning that illegal material has been found on your computer and then locks you out of your computer unless you pay a fee. It’s still around, and we recently offered new guidance to help you deal with it.

Protect yourself from online tracking. Earlier this year we reported on Tracking Protection, which was a new feature in Internet Explorer 9. Read more about how user privacy protection has evolved and why it is turned on by default in Internet Explorer 10.

Here are five more stories that were popular with you this year:

For more information on the top online safety stories of this year, visit the Trustworthy Computing blog.