Ransomware

 

As you may have heard, a new and major ransomware attack was unleashed worldwide back in May of this year (2017), named WANNACRY. This one infected at least 75,000 computers in 99 countries in a very short amount of time. The ransomware locked computers and networks using file encryption software, and demanded payment by Bitcoin (a non-traceable crypto-currency) to release the data.

 

These types of attacks typically enter a computer through a “phishing email” and then spreads to other machines on the same network by exploiting vulnerabilities, including vulnerabilities in the computer’s operating system (although Microsoft did discover the vulnerability and released a patch, many computer users do not regularly update their operating systems and may have missed the critical repair).

 

What can you do to prevent ransomware on your own computer?

Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t click on links from unfamiliar sources. Even if you think you know the sender, be cautious about clicking on email links. When in doubt, DELETE IT! Be especially wary of messages requiring you to act quickly, asking for personal information, or threatening you in any way.
  • Keep clean machines: Prevent infections by updating critical software as soon as patches or new operating system versions are available. This includes mobile and other internet-connected devices.
  • Use strong authentication, requiring more than a username and password to access accounts, especially critical networks, to prevent access through stolen or hacked credentials.
  • Conduct regular backups of systems: Systems can be restored in cases of ransomware and having current backup of all data speeds the recovery process.
  • Make better passwords: In cases where passwords are still used, require long, strong and unique passwords to better harden accounts against intrusions.

 

For more information, or for a complete system checkup, contact TeCHS!

We are fast, affordable, and friendly. Serving all of Ventura County.

(800) 669-2022 | http://www.ezdigitallife.com

 

~Your TeCHS

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Safeguarding Yourself From Scams – Don’t become a victim! Part 2: What You Can Do To Safeguard Your Information

Safeguarding Yourself From Scams – Don’t become a victim!

Part 2: What You Can Do To Safeguard Your Information

Online Security Protection Internet Safety Guard Lock Concept

1.) Don’t share your passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers or any other pertinent information with anyone.

2.) Don’t write your passwords down anywhere someone could stumble upon them. It’s best if you don’t keep written records of your passwords, but with the amount of passwords people need now, it’s getting a bit more complicated to keep track of them all without writing them down.

3.) Keep your computer’s spyware and antivirus software up to date and scan your computer regularly.

4.) Make sure you have firewalls up and running at all times. Whether it’s the built-in Windows firewall, your router’s firewall or a 3rd party firewall software; or all of them in combination if you really want to make sure they are working.

5.) Always be wary of emails asking for your personal or financial information. Don’t click on links or open emails that seem suspicious to you at all. Even one simple click can open your computer up to a criminal – installing malicious software and stealing your information. Never click on links in emails or links on web sites that you don’t know or don’t trust. If you get an email from “your bank” saying you need to log into your account right away for any reason, but you aren’t sure the email is actually coming from your bank then don’t click on any links in that email. Open a new internet browser, type in the URL yourself and then log in to your account and make sure everything is as it should be. If a link doesn’t feel right, don’t click it.

6.) Keep an eye on your assets and your credit and check on everything on a regular basis. Make sure to report any odd or suspicious activity immediately. Switch over to paperless billing and statements. Pretty much everyone now-a-days offers paperless statements… banks, credit cards, house-hold billing companies. Having them all delivered to your email inbox instead of your physical address saves paper, postage and also eliminates the possibility of someone stealing your mail.

7.) Never write your full account numbers on your checks when you pay your bills, especially when paying credit card bills, just write in the last four digits of your account number.

8.) Always shred documents you do not need, don’t just throw them in the trash. Criminals do sift through your trash looking for pertinent documents.

9.) Don’t broadcast that you are leaving town, or that you are out of town, on social networking sites. That is sort of like putting up a flashing neon sign over your house that says “no one is home and no one will be home for a while, so come on in and take what you want.” Wait until you return home from your trip to talk about it.

 

If Your ID Is Stolen:
Immediately file a fraud alert on your credit report by calling Equifax (888-766-0008), TransUnion (800-680-7289) or Experian (888-397-3742). After you have filed your report, call the issuers of any credit cards that may have been affected.

 

Basically the gist of everything I’ve written is: be careful with the personal information that you give out.
We all do a lot of shopping online which means we are all typing our credit card numbers into lots of different company websites. Make sure the company you purchase from is reputable. If something seems too good to be true, it is. There is nothing free in life. Massive discounts on normally very expensive items from shady online stores are more often than not going to cost you a lot more than you think.

 

A Few Tips For Kids:

staying_safe_online_large

 

Do you need any assistance? Want a professional to check your computer security? Contact TeCHS today!

~Your TeCHS

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Safeguarding Yourself From Scams – Don’t become a victim! Part 1: Common Techniques

Safeguarding Yourself From Scams – Don’t become a victim! Part 1: Common Techniques

scam-alert1
1.) Phishing : Phishing e-mails mimicking online businesses or banks in an attempt to fool people into freely giving out confidential personal and financial information. URL Obfuscation is the part of the phishing scam that really plays on human error and our brain’s ability to “fill in the gaps” automatically by sending a victim to a fraudulent web site address that looks almost exactly like a real address (i.e. http://www.pay-pal.com versus http://www.paypal.com).

2.) Pharming : Pharming is another form of phishing that “poisons” a person’s computer’s DNS cache and redirects visitors from a real web site to a bogus mirror site. Every web site has its own internet address and the Domain Name System (DNS) translates the IP address into the host name. A DNS cache poisoning changes the entries in the computer so when the legitimate site is typed in, the victim is sent to a fraudulent web page instead.

3.) Trojan Horse : Trojan Horses are malicious software files that infiltrate your PC by hiding in seemingly innocuous files. Some Trojans, called “keystroke loggers,” record every one of a person’s keystrokes and send that information back to the attacker.

4.) Trojan : Zombie Computers and Man-In-The-Middle Attacks are part Trojan and the malicious software that is installed on the victim’s computer allows that person’s PC to be controlled remotely by their attacker without their knowledge. The Man-In-The-Middle attack is frequently partnered with an “Evil Twin” which is a fake wireless internet hot spot connection that looks almost like a legitimate service. When the victim attempts to connect, the criminal launches a transaction to get the victim’s credit card information in the form of a standard pay-for-access deal to use the wireless internet.

5.) Cashier’s Check Scams : There are numerous ways to use cashier’s checks in scams. Here are a few of the most common –

Money mule: you receive payments, and you’re supposed to deposit the payments to your account and forward the money to somebody else. Often advertised as a work-at-home check processing job, these schemes are often problematic. In some cases, you’re laundering money for criminals. In other cases, the first few payments are fine, but eventually you’ll get a fake check (after they’ve gained your trust) and you’ll lose money.

Foreign wealth scams: somebody you don’t know reaches out to you and asks for your help transferring a large sum of money out of a corrupt nation. In exchange, you can keep a tiny fraction of the transfer, which is more than you make in a year. Of course, you’ll have to send money to somebody to complete the transfer (which will never arrive).

Inheritance and lottery scams: you’re about to receive a lot of money, but you’ll need to pay a small amount for taxes or legal fees to “release” the funds. It’s a small price to pay for the riches that are headed your way. Of course, they’ll never materialize.

Property rental scam: somebody is moving to your area for a new job. They’d like to pay the first and last month of rent (and security deposit) with a cashier’s check before they ever see the property. The day after you deposit the check, they say there was an issue with the job – they’re not coming, so they don’t need the rental. You can keep the security deposit, but they’d like for you to return some of the rent. After you send the refund, you’ll find that the check was a fake.

Part 2 (JULY) will go over a few tips to protect yourself.

~Your TeCHS

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How Smart Is Your Car?

There’s something to be said about classic cars – they may be gas guzzlers but at least they are safe from hackers! Hackers and motor vehicles? What the heck am I talking about?

I’m talking about the problems with the gradual shift over to wireless car networks. I have written articles in the past on the future of our roadways – connecting every car in a virtual net that, in theory, will safely guide us to our destinations. New cars today come equipped with systems like OnStar that wirelessly connects your vehicle to their network… and by “connects your vehicle” I mean everything… they know where the vehicle is at all times and can even shut the car down – all with a click of a button.

cartoon-car

So with all of that in mind… what will happen when someone has the ability to hack into your motor vehicle while you are sitting in the driver’s seat?

Under the hood of today’s fancy new cars are no longer just simple mechanical devices, there are now small but powerful computers in there too. These computer systems are all linked together to control and coordinate vehicle functions. While all of the advances have increased the efficiency of the new vehicles and the safety of its passengers, it has also created quite a few potential risks.

Every car is now federally mandated to have an on-board diagnostics port which provides direct access to all of the vehicle’s internal networks. User-added after-market upgrades create even more potential attack points (audio devices, Bluetooth devices, other wireless devices) since they also attach directly to the vehicle’s internal network and communicate with other networks totally unsecured.

An independent study was done a couple of years ago by a large group of curious people where it was proven that it wasn’t all that difficult to hack into and take over someone’s motor vehicle. Remotely someone can honk the horn, pop the trunk, turn on the windshield wipers and display messages on the dashboard along with activating loud sounds through the stereo system. Someone can lock a single brake and can even disable your entire braking system which would not reengage no matter how hard you stepped on the pedal.

What are your thoughts on smart cars?

What features would you like to see put in?

~Your TeCHS

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Your Digital Life Simplified!

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Third-Party Chargers Are Not Worth The Price

Third-party chargers for your smartphones and tablets seem like a good idea… but the majority of them are simply not safe.

dont-buy-shady-cheap-chargers-unless-you-want-your-iphone-to-explode

The knock-off chargers are usually not insulated well enough to protect against electric shocks and most are not actually compliant with electrical safety standards. Using these cheap chargers can harm you (electric shock) and can start fires if they spark. Always be on the lookout for tell-tale signs of counterfeiting such as mistakes in brand names or logos, and check plugs for safety marks. Our suggestion = pay the larger price tag and make sure your chargers are originals from the manufacturer of your devices.

cell-phone-exploded2

~Your TeCHS

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2017 | Happy New Year!

We hope that 2017 brings you and your family joy, prosperity, love, and peace.

Champagne

Fireworks

HappyNewYear

~Your TeCHS

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Your Digital Life Simplified!

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3D Modeling from Microsoft

Microsoft is bringing 3D to the masses through a modernized version of its Paint application (Paint 3D) for Windows 10 that will be available in the Windows 10 Creators Update. Anyone who would like to start creating and sharing in Paint 3D can do so by joining the Windows Insider Program — available for PC and Phone — the company said. Of course, this is an entry-level product without all of the bells and whistles (or power) of the established 3D modeling software on the market… but small programs of this nature are a great way to learn the basics of 3D modeling.

I cant wait to see more and more programs like this as 3D printers become more and more affordable for every home.

What are your thoughts?

~Your TeCHS

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Tech Support Scams

warning-scam-alert

The FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center has been receiving a large increase in complaints related to technical support scams, where the scammer claims to be an employee of a major computer software or security company offering technical support to you. Some scammer are claiming to be support for cable and internet companies to offer assistance with digital cable boxes and connections, modems and routers. The scammer claims the company has received notifications of errors, viruses or security issues from your internet connection. Scammers are also claiming to work on behalf of government agencies to resolve computer viruses and threats from possible foreign countries or terrorist organizations.

Tips to avoid being a victim:

  • Recognize the attempt and cease all communication with the scammer.
  • Resist the pressure to act quickly. The scammer will urge you to fast action in order to protect your device. The scammer will create a sense of urgency to produce fear and lure you into immediate action.
  • Do not give unknown, unverified persons remote access to devices or accounts. A legitimate software or security company will not directly contact individuals unless the contact is initiated by the customer.
  • Ensure all computer anti-virus, security, and malware protection is up to date. Some victims report their anti-virus software provided warnings prior to the attempt.
  • If a victim receives a pop-up or locked screen, shut down the device immediately. Victims report that shutting down the device and waiting a short time to restart usually removes the pop-up or screen lock.
  • Should a scammer gain access to a device or an account, you should take precautions to protect your identity, immediately contact your financial institutions to place protection on your accounts, and monitor your accounts and personal information for suspicious activity.

To learn more about this scam and reporting information visit the FBI’s update at: http://www.ic3.gov/media/2016/160602.aspx

~Your TeCHS

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SCE Scam Warning

Please be aware that utility imposter scams are on the rise here in Southern California. Imposters claiming to be with Southern California Edison (SCE) are calling people and demanding immediate payment to avoid electricity service being disconnected due to allegedly past due bills. The caller demands that the customer purchase a prepaid cash card, call the imposter back, and give the imposter the cash card number.

Customers suspecting any fraudulent activity of this nature should ask for the caller’s name, department, and business phone number. Customers should then immediately terminate the call and call the local police! and SCE at (800) 655-4555.

Always remember that a real SCE employee:

  • Will never call and demand immediate payment.
  • Will never threaten to cut off your service.

Also:

  • Never give out any of your own personal information (including your credit card number, ATM or other card number, PIN numbers, account number, etc).
  • If someone calls you and requests that you leave your home at a specific time for a utility-related cause, call the police. This could be a burglary attempt setup by the caller.
  • Always be suspicious of anyone who arrives at your home without an appointment asking to check an appliance, wiring, or suggesting that there may be some electrical problem inside your residence. SCE employees would have setup that appointment ahead of time and all SCE employees will be wearing an ID badge.

~Your TeCHS

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