The Cost Of Free SVG Files - Malware, Viruses and Identity Theft

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We all love collecting all of those wonderful free SVG files, but are they really free? Well....not exactly. I spend way too much time on Facebook and I'm a member of many cutting machine Facebook groups. Cricut, Sizzix, Silhouette, you name it! This weekend, I ran into an interesting post where a Cricut user was faced with a suspicious pop-up asking her to take a survey in exchange for a "free gift" of some sort. After doing some research on the pop-up, I discovered that it was in fact a Virus. dearcricut-user You can read more about the virus here: http://blog.mitechmate.com/congratulations-you-won-com-virus-removal/ This wasn't the first time I've seen an issue like this. Since I provide all of the customer support for SVGCuts, I perform remote support on dozens of customer machines on a weekly basis and on occasion I do find symptoms of malware and viruses. How did they get there? I can't say for sure since I wasn't there at the exact moment that the user contracted it, but it's there and the users are on the fast track to some potentially devastating and costly issues. And I can't say if there was a connection between this virus and one of the peer to peer sharing sites I'll discuss below, but thanks to this user, I decided it was time to help everyone understand where the potential threats are coming from. Before Mary and I started SVGCuts in 2009, I spent my entire professional career doing IT and Help Desk support for companies like Chrysler, USRobotics and Sharp Electronics just to name a few. I also ran my own computer repair company for a few years and I know first-hand that when you're infected, the odds of getting the virus or spy/malware completely off of your system is very slim unless you format your computer and reinstall windows or perform a system restore. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but its near impossible to know exactly where the virus embeds itself in your system. The key is prevention. Don't get infected in the first place!

Why are Viruses, Spyware and Malware Dangerous and Costly?

  • Spyware, Malware and/or Viruses are portals for keylogging technology. Keylogging is a malicious application that captures your key strokes and sends them to the hacker. All of those passwords you're typing, yep... if your computer is infected with a keylogger, this information is being sent to someone that can use the information to gain access to your online accounts. This is a precursor to Identity Theft.
  • Viruses, Spyware and Malware degrade your computer performance and internet browsing speeds. Once you've contracted a virus, spyware or malware, you can try to use your Antivirus software to scan and remove it. You may also need to download some Anti-spyware software, although many Antivirus programs come equipped to handle malware and spyware by default.
  • If your Anti-virus can't remove the virus, adware or spyware, you'll need to take your computer in to a computer repair place (Geek Squad etc) to have it cleaned up and possibly formatted and reinstalled.

How To Protect Yourself

  • If you're running Windows XP, upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.
  • 5% of SVGCuts users are still running Windows XP even though it is end of life and is no longer receiving security updates.
  • Keep your browsers up to date.
  • Keep your Anti-virus up to date. New malware, spyware and viruses are released everyday. Being one day behind on updates will leave you susceptible to infection.
  • Get an Anti-virus program like Webroot or Norton Anti Virus.
  • Get a Mac. Even though they aren't completely immune to contracting viruses, spyware or malware, they are generally safer.
  • Download files from sources that you trust only.
  • Scan all of your downloads before unzipping or opening them.

Sources of Malware, Spyware, Viruses and Potential Identity Theft

We're not saying that every file on the sites listed below is infected. We're simply stating that it's HIGHLY possible. If you're going to contract anything, it'll happen on the sites below. Check out the article on Norton.com for even more info (click here) and another one on Netsecurity.com (click here).
  • Drop Box (see article about trojan viruses on Drop Box. Click here)
  • Media Fire
  • 4 Shared
  • Box
  • Rapid Share
  • Uploaded
  • Free Font Websites

Leo Kowal

What About Files From SVGCuts? Are They Safe?

Yes. We control our web server (its completely dedicated and belongs to us). We create and place the files there and we secure our site and scan it regularly for malware, spyware, adware and viruses. Even our free files are safe because we don't use peer to peer file sharing (DropBox, 4Shared etc) to make them accessible to you. They are located safely on our servers and are delivered to you directly using HTTP.

31 Responses to “The Cost Of Free SVG Files - Malware, Viruses and Identity Theft”

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