A New Twilight Virus Can Really Bite

Beware of "Bree Tanner"

By Scott Budman
|  Friday, Jun 4, 2010  |  Updated 10:19 AM PDT
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"Twilight" and the Internet.  A dangerous mix, thanks to a huge fan base, quickly moving technology and our love for gadgets.

I got a note in my email box this morning from PC Tools, a computer security company based in San Francisco. Seems the screens of the virus fighters up there have been screaming red since word got out about Stephenie Meyer's upcoming "Twilight" update, a novella called "The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner."  Beware, they say: Cybercriminals are riding the success of the series to try and poison your computer.

Here's how it works: Criminals target e-book downloads of "Bree" for the Amazon Kindle and other e-book readers and try to poison the download links with malware and viruses. These can infect and damage your computer, sometimes without you knowing it. The viruses can be put inside search links or links to the book itself. Silicon Valley security giant Symantec reported that such attacks are now so common, they represented nearly half of all web-based attacks in 2009.

So, how can Twilighters protect themselves? Be careful. Don't open any link, no matter how tempting, if you don't completely trust it. If a "friend" sends you a link to "Bree," think twice before opening it. Nothing is free, even online, so if you're shopping for the novella, do so at trusted sites, like Amazon, or Barnes & Noble. They pay a lot of money to security companies to make sure their links are clean.

Also, beware of links that don't end in .net, or .com. Stay away from freeware sharing sites. And avoid fakes. If a "Virus alert" pops up on your screen, don't click on it. Close it right away, and run your anti-virus software. Use common sense, and you should be safe, ready to continue the saga in peace.

Scott made it through the "Harry Potter" series, but hasn't "Twilight"-ed yet.  He's on Twitter  @scottbudman

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