Protect Yourself from Modem Hijacking - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Protect Yourself from Modem Hijacking

A kind of internet scam called "modem hijacking" can cost you lots of money. It happens when users inadvertently install a program called a dialer from the internet, which begins making long-distance, even international, calls over your modem. You may not be aware till the charge shows up on your phone bill.

The dialer is installed when users click on a pop-up agreeing to install it--various methods are used to trick users into clicking. Or worse, a kind of internet tool called Active X, which can be used to add interactivity to web pages, can also be used to install the dialer on a user's machine without the user knowing or clicking on anything.

To protect yourself, increase your internet security settings in Internet Explorer. On the browser's menu bar, click on Tools, the Internet Options, and the Security tab. There you'll see a button labeled Custom Level. After clicking that, you will be able to set Active X options to disable, enable, or prompt. If you use a lot of interactive websites, set the levels to prompt, and you'll get a pop-up asking for approval before any Active X component runs. Allow only those you trust.

Or you might consider an alternative browser for using the web, such as the new--free--Firefox. It's widely touted as more secure than Internet Explorer.

If you have been a victim of modem hijacking, you can file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission via its website.

In the meantime, an Australian company is selling modem protection software called Stop It Now that is specifically designed to remove unauthorized modem dialers. And free internet spyware removal tools like Spybot Search & Destroy can remove some dialers.

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