Computer & PC Help

Year End Wrap-Up – Think Before You Click14 Dec

Another year is about to end and still we are plagued by Malware and Viruses. This year we’ve seen the rise of the crypto-randsom virus which literally encrypts everything on your hard drive and everything connected to your PC. Unless you pay, your information is encrypted and therefore useless. I would hope you don’t pay because that only encourages these people to send more malware and viruses.

Remember these rules… Microsoft, IRS, FBI any and all banks, UPS, Fed ex and USPS will never ever correspond with you by email. You need to be diligent when you surf the internet and when you inspect your email. I’ve written several blogs on bad mail, viruses and how to spot phony email addresses and if you’ve been following me you are aware of all of this.

I suspect, but I have no knowledge of, or any information on, that the recent hacking into Sony Pictures was started by someone opening an infected email. This happens all the time! Someone gets an email either from someone in their company or a friend with an attachment or a link to a website, they open the attachment or they click on the link and ‘bang” the malware is let lose and things get destroyed and thousands of dollars is spent trying to locate these criminals and fix the security. But the major security weakness is YOU. Sony Pictures is now being picked apart  because they were hacked and all their information was comprised.

First of all that infected email was sent  with a false address. The display name might be from someone you know like a friend or co-worker, but the actual address is usually If you read my blog “Is that email REAL or Fake – How to Tell”, you will understand how to check for a phony email with a display name you know.

The reality is this, your virus protection is only as good as the updates and only IF the virus or malware is already known can it protect you.  Usually there’s a major outbreak of a virus before the security companies can identify how to stop it – so in a sense they play “catch-up”  That doesn’t mean don’t use virus protection because it will protect you.  There are also things you can install in your browser like WOT – Web Of Trust.  But with all that you can still get infected.  The BEST virus/malware protection is YOUYOU have the power to stop yourself from being hacked. All that is required is that you pay attention to that email in your in box regardless if your home or at work,  pay attention when surfing the internet. This will save you from unwanted problems.

  • Why would you receive an email from UPS, FedEx or USPS if you did not order a package?
  • How could you win a foreign lottery if you never played?
  • How did you get that million dollar inheritance from an aunt/uncle in Nigeria if you have no family there?
  • How did you get the job if you never even applied?
  • Why would a bank that’s not even your bank suddenly ask you to update your information on line if you don’t even have an account with them? For that matter, why would your bank ask you to do that?
  • Has Microsoft ever sent you and email to tell you your PC needs to be updated?

My mother told me long ago that curiosity killed the cat and she was right! These criminals are hoping your curiosity will kick in and you’ll open that email and click on that attachment or link and suddenly your infected with a virus or malware, your home page is changed. you have all these pop-up and now you have some crazy tool bar in your browser and you have no idea how it got there. It got there because what ever you downloaded or updated had all these add-ons attached to them. Adobe and Java updates are notorious for doing that. If you looked at it you would see the check boxes telling you that “XYZ” is going to get installed. See my blog “How’d That Get There?” That blog explains it to you.

I always ask people if they would leave their front door open with their bank book and pin number on the table next to their jewelry box. Most of the time they look at me like I’m crazy because they would never do that but what people don’t understand is that is exactly what you are doing when you get infected with Malware. Once you are infected criminals can gain access to your bank accounts, credit cards and your personal information. And all you did was open an email or click on a web link! If your a business, well just look at Sony Pictures.

All this can be avoided if YOU and ONLY YOU would pay attention and really think before you click!

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