Have you been having the problem of a super slow computer all of a sudden? Well, I did and it was a most annoying and irritable experience.
Late yesterday, I noticed that my computer almost halted to a crawl, and in some instances, it wouldn’t even download several of my favorites sites, (e.g., C-Span, Speedtest, FileHippo, Banco General and Photobucket). I don’t recall having installed a new software or visited an exotic place. “What in the world was going on?”, I asked to myself. No logical answer came from inside my head.
After having a solemn supper, without speaking a word, I decided to tackle the problem. Even my wife noticed how quiet and red-faced I was. I stayed up until 2:34 a.m. until finally I came up with the solution to my problem. The culprit for the strange behavior of my computer was a beacon called “b.scorecardresearch.com”. It has been glued to my computer and was pulling it down like an anchor. I have reasons to believe it was planted by a suspicious site called http://www.maxmyspeed.com. I was attracted to this page, because I wanted to boost my computer speed and this alleged software would help me do it. No way Jose, it almost ruined it.
According to Comscore which I knew little about, before this incident, ScorecardResearch is:
“ScorecardResearch is a website that is used to help with the collection of Internet web browsing data on specific websites that have enrolled in a broad market research effort by comScore, Inc. to create reports on Internet behavior and trends. comScore, Inc. is a recognized authority on Internet and general economic trends, whose data are routinely cited by major media outlets such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and CNBC, and is extensively used by the largest Internet services companies and scores of Fortune 500 companies.”
I never authorized anybody to create reports on my Internet activities. Somebody planted this beacon without my consent and almost ruined my operating system and rained on my day. Serendipitously, I found the solution by googling the term “b.scorecard” to find out if others had experienced problems with this beacon.
“In order to identify browser-level behavior such as new versus repeat visitors to a website or page, we may drop cookies in support of our market research efforts. To opt-out of this browser-level tracking you can click here. If you choose to opt-out, a cookie will be placed on your computer instructing us to disable our ability to browser-level track of your website visitation while on a website with a ScorecardResearch beacon installed. However, if your browser does not accept cookies, or if you delete all of your cookies, then this browser-level tracking may occur. Additionally, this opt-out is only effective when you are using the Internet browser you were using when you opted-out.”
I followed their instructions and removed the pesky software. Lo and behold, as soon as the bug was removed from my computer, everything came back to normal. All my previous sites worked and my surfing speed came back to what is was before the computer was infested.
After this annoying incident I learned my lesson. Stay away from free scanning sites which allegedly increase your computer speed like http://www.maxmyspeed.com and immediately delete beacons like b.scorecardresearch.com as soon as you notice their presence. Even protection software like Rising Antivirus and Spybot Search & Destroy couldn’t get rid of it. As a matter of fact, they couldn’t even detect it after it had nested in my computer.
The Cloud is getting more and more dangerous as evil persons try to squeeze money from innocent victims. I recently read that zero-day vulnerabilities were found last month in Adobe Shockwave, Adobe Flash, Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple QuickTime, and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. All of these weaknesses were cited by Fortinet as critical as they leave the applications open to attacks that are able to run code remotely.
In terms of sheer malware attacks among the top countries hit in November, the U.S. accounted for 35 percent, up from 32 percent in October. Japan took 22 percent of the total attacks, up from 16 percent the prior month. And Korea took the brunt of 12.5 percent of the world’s total malware attacks, up from less than 9 percent in October.
When surfing the Web please keep in mind, that you are walking inside a mine field—caveat! Good Day.