They’re questions many ponder, but most are too embarrassed to answer: Are internet porn sites filled with malicious software?And what are the best ways to prevent the malware from ending up on your computer or smartphone?Q: Don’t porn sites sometimes experience malware problems that they’re actively trying to avoid?I read a news story on The Next that said ESET researchers discovered earlier this year consumers were being tricked into downloading malware that was hidden in what appeared to be a legitimate mobile app for Pornhub. But I’d say that the porn industry has helped pioneer things like video streaming and online payment services, and they don’t want to do things that hurt their businesses. Q: As you said, many people are too embarrassed to admit that they downloaded malware from a porn site.
Q: I’ve also read that some users receive pop-up messages on their screens saying things like, “Microsoft windows has detected that a porn virus has infected your system and is trying to steal pictures, data and social networking passwords.” How should a user respond to a message like that?Either way, I think all security experts have seen a surfeit of computers riddled with malware, spyware, adware, and bloatware, along with a browser history chock full of adult website URLs.Q: I read a story in a British paper that said that a hacker had developed a smartphone app that took a person’s picture when they visited certain porn sites. A: It is certainly possible and might strike an ethically challenged criminal hacker as an interesting business proposition.What are the options for getting rid of the malware?A: A good security suite will be able to remove most malware infections and should also come with free phone support.Those support agents are likely to have a “seen it all before” attitude and are not going to be judgmental, unless of course the content is clearly illegal, such as child pornography.Q: Is it possible that a person could unknowingly download child porn from virtually any site on the web?Use a malware scanner to find and remove the adware (ESET offers a free scanner at https://com/online-scanner).Q: I suspect that many people wouldn’t take an infected computer to a repair store to get the malware removed.Alternatively, they should use a Chromebook or a cheap secondhand Windows 7 laptop that has no personal information or banking/shopping/email/file-sharing apps on it.And they should be prepared to hit the off switch the moment anything weird happens.