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VZ Security Pages: Malware

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There are many threats to the security of your data on the internet: Trojan horses, keyloggers, etc. Criminals use this malware to get past through your passwords, because stolen data can be used to earn lots of money. Here you can find information about malware, what you should be careful of, and what steps you can take to protect your computer. Additional tips and advice can be found with our partner, the Anti-Botnet Advisory Centre – they also have a Special Profile with us!

Malware – Trojans, viruses, and other:

The German word for malware is "Schadsoftware". This can be divided into trojans, viruses, worms, spyware, or other types of software. These programs work without you even noticing and may be disguised, for example, as a free game or a slide show. These programs try to trick you into installing the malware. Once the malware is on your computer, it begins to read your passwords – when you login to VZ, for example, or when you use your online banking, or your email account. This allows the data thiefs to login to your accounts unnoticed and steel money, use your account for fraud, or use your accounts to send emails that further spread the malware. This is known as "Malware Spreading".


Another way to get hold of your passwords is through phishing. This involves data thieves copying a website on the internet, such as the VZ homepage, as closely as possible. You will then be asked – through a fake message from VZ, for example – to login there. If you fall for this trap, you will have given out your password without even knowing. Please note: No internet portal asks you to enter your login information by sending you an email! If you receive such an email, make sure you look at the sender of the email carefully.


Some types of malware infect a particular computer and spread from there like a disease. In these instances the program will not only steel your password, but will use it to login to your VZ account. It will then send the malicious link to your friends in your name. They expect some interesting information from you, click on it, and infect their own computers.

Take care when browsing

Look out for the following warning signs when browsing through the internet and downloading programs:

  • Links ending "exe", "bat" or "scr", result in the downloading of a program. Do not download the file unless you know exactly what it is.
  • Stay away from dubious offers! "Read your friends’ private messages here!" or "Unlimited points in your browser game". Hiding behind these promises are data thiefs waiting to steel your login details and tamper with your VZ account.
  • Always look carefully at links. Be careful on download portals such as "rapidshare" or "megaload", as these are often used to spread malware. One warning sign is shortened or altered URLs, such as, or unusual country domain endings, such as "to" or "cx".
  • Be suspicious if you are advised to update a known program, such as "java" or "flash", without requesting this! If may not be an update, but malware. You can check this easily: On the provider’s website you can see whether your computer really needs an update. It’s best to install updates directly from the provider’s website, which can be found easily using a search engine: for "Flash" visit "Adobe", for "Java" visit "Sun" etc.


A few simple steps will help ensure your computer is better protected. Unfortuantely, it will never by fully secure!

  • Ensure you have up-to-date anti-virus software with a guard function and a desktop firewall. Even when you have this, you should remain vigilant: A lot of the new malware cannot be recognized by any virus programs.
  • Run regular scans using this anti-virus software.
  • Change your password regularly – this will save you lots of hassle, because stolen login details are often not used until months after they have been taken.
  • Update the most important programs regularly: Windows, Java, Flash, and your browser.
  • Stay up-to-date: Websites such as or have information about the latest trojans, viruses, and phishing websites, as well as which anti-virus programs can help.
  • Clean your computer: Take the time to inform yourself and clean your computer carefully. We can recommend our partner, the Anti-Botnet-Advisory Centre which provides a wide selection of scanners.

Reporting something suspicious

If a user in VZ sends you a strange link, or you come across something suspicious in a group, please report this content to sec-alert[at]vz[dot]net. We can offer you comprehensive support and the advice of our cooperation partner.

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