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 1: Common Techniques

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

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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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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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What do you do if your email has been hacked?

What do you do if your email has been hacked?

Have you ever tried to check your email but you find you can’t log in. Your friends and family might even be receiving messages that you know you didn’t send. What’s the deal? Unfortunately, you’ve probably been hacked! It may be because of malware installed on your computer, a company’s data breach, or even someone you know who was able to guess your security questions and change your password.

So… what do you do if your email has been hacked? Here are a few quick steps you can take to help recover your account and protect the security of your identity and your personal information.

  1. Check your security software now!

Hackers usually gain access to your accounts and passwords through computer viruses you might not have noticed. You will need to make sure your computer is clean before you do anything else.

Also, you will want to make sure that your computer and all of the important software (like your anti-virus) are up to date. Take a look at your settings and make sure they are set to update automatically. Then, run a security scan and see if there are any problem programs or viruses. Delete anything that comes up as suspicious, and restart your machine.

  1. Change your passwords.

Once you have made sure that your computer is virus free you will want to change your passwords. Changing passwords is always a bit of a pain… but it really should be done every few months even if you have no problems. Some people like to use password managers which generates very strong passwords and keeps track of them for you. Those usually come with a monthly fee.

  1. Check with your email provider.

The company that hosts your email should have measures that you can take to verify your identity and restore access to your account (such as texting a code to your phone). Once you have regained access to your email account, go to your settings and check them thoroughly. You will want to make sure your emails aren’t being forwarded to somebody else… and check to make sure that no links have been added to your email signature.

  1. Spread the word.

If you are at all concerned that your account has been compromised you need to let your friends and family know… they might have to do some work of their own if they clicked on a bad link that came from what they thought was you.

Also, sharing this blog post may help someone you know.

~Your TeCHS

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Preventing Mobile Malware

Preventing Mobile Malware

Smartphones and tablets now have as much, if not more, private data on them than computers, so attempting to get malware on these devices is logical (from a criminal’s point of view). It is no wonder that online criminals have started focusing more heavily on infecting mobile devices. Potentially harmful applications include spyware, ransomware and fraudulent apps.

Most malicious software is found in third-party app stores that are popular in a few countries. These third party app stores are loaded with pirated versions of software or trojanized applications.

There are three simple steps you can take to keep malware off of your mobile devices:

  1. Use the official app store for your device

The two official app stores, Google’s Play store and Apple’s App Store, regularly check all software in their stores for malicious behavior. The automatic checks aren’t perfect but they do help and the companies remove any programs found to be malicious.

  1. Do not jailbreak your phone

Mobile devices come with a lot of built-in security and using a program to ‘hack’ the device to remove the carriers’ and manufacturers’ restrictions (called jailbreaking) undermines the security protecting the devices.

  1. Update!

The mobile software space is always moving quickly and developers are constantly adding bug fixes, including security issues. You should update your software as frequently as possible and always look out for system updates.

 

~Your TeCHS

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