Posts Tagged: ‘virus’

Are You Protecting Your Data from Cybercriminals?

Posting Date: 12/16/2014  |   Filed Under: Internet, Security, Tips  |   No Comments
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cybercrime

Do you remember when JP Morgan Chase was hacked earlier this year? Maybe you remember it vividly because you were one of the 76 million customers affected by this enormous data breach? The theft of digital information has actually exceeded physical theft.

Big retailers and financial institutions are continuously fortifying their networks against cyber attackers. As a result, smaller businesses are increasingly becoming the targets of cybercriminals and hackers. Why? Because smaller businesses are typically less prepared in the fight against cybercrime.

If you are the owner of a small business or are self-employed, Geeks On Call recommends that you safeguard your data with following tips:

 

  • Cybersecurity Awareness: When it comes to protecting yourself or your business, education and training is your first line of defense. Get informed and establish a plan. Follow appropriate internet safety guidelines while on the job or at home.

 

  • Clean Machines: Upgrade to the newest operating system, web browser and security software to guard against malware and viruses. Use a firewall software that prevents outsiders from accessing your network

 

  • Passwords and Authentication: Use unique passwords and change your passwords every three months. For greater security, use multi-factor authentication because it requires additional information to gain entry. If you work with vendors that are handling your business data, ask if they use multi-factor authentication. If not, you might want to find a vendor that does.

 

  • Secure Your Wi-Fi Network: A major misconception is that by simply having a router on your network this will provide the protection you need.  Without a password on the router, it is like putting a door on your office but not locking it.

 

  • Financial Transactions: Use encryption software to protect your business’ financial accounts, personnel files, product information and other highly sensitive data. Also, don’t surf the internet from the computer you use to process payments.

 

  • Mobile Devices: Require employees or other users to password protect their mobile devices, encrypt their data and install security apps to prevent cyber criminals from stealing information while the device is on a public network.

 

Geeks On Call can help you defend your business and home computers against cybercrime by strengthening your network and using security solutions. Give your local Geeks On Call office a call and one of their technology professionals will be happy to help you.

Understanding the Heartbleed Bug

Posting Date: 04/10/2014  |   Filed Under: Internet, Security, Technology, Tips  |   2 Comments
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Yesterday an enormous exploit was announced impacting OpenSSL, the open-source software package extensively used to encrypt Web communications. They named this exploit the Heartbleed Bug. Many have questions about what this bug is, how it will impact them, and what they should do to protect themselves online. Hopefully this post will help you answer these questions and more about the Heartbleed Bug.

 
What is the Heartbleed Bug?
The Heartbleed Bug uncovers a vulnerability in the OpenSSL cryptographic library that permits attackers to access to highly sensitive data that is regularly protected by the SSL/TLS encryption methods. This sensitive data includes username, passwords, credit card numbers and information on virtual private networks (VPN’s).

 

What is does?
This noxious Bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software,” according to Heartbleed.com. The bug compromises the secret keys OpenSSL utilizes to encrypt online communications. With access to these secret keys, attackers are able to eavesdrop on communications, impersonate other users and steal information.

 

Who discovered it?
The Bug was uncovered a late last week by the Finnish security firm Codenomicon and analysts at Google who then revealed it on Monday. By mid-day Tuesday many websites stated they had already addressed the issue, or were in the process of upgrading their websites OpenSSL.

 

Are you at risk?
OpenSSL is the most commonly used open source cryptographic library and TLS implementation source to encrypt data on the Internet, so the answer is yes you are likely at risk. Popular social sites, your organization’s site, hobby and interest website, commerce or shopping websites and even government sites use OpenSSL and therefore may be impacted by this Bug.

 

What should you do to protect yourself?
Experts suggest that refraining from using the Internet for 2-3 days, specifically from accessing social sites, banking sites, and email accounts will give you the ultimate level of protection against the Heartbleed Bug. This is not realistic for most us, so it is suggested that you change all of your passwords once the OpenSSL update has been installed on the impacted website.

For more information visit www.Heartbleed.com.

Viruses of 2013

Posting Date: 12/16/2013  |   Filed Under: Internet, Security, Tips  |   No Comments
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As 2013 comes to a close, everyone produces lists for the year in review. I love these, and look forward to reading them every year.   As we jump into 2014, we wanted to review the computer viruses, scams, and issues that made their appearance in 2013 and will probably continue into 2014, so you can make sure you and your technology continue to be informed and protected.  When you log on remember to STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

CryptoLocker – Emerging into the computer world in the fall, hackers were hitting computer systems and holding personal information and files for ransom.  The concept of holding something for ransom has been around for ages, but this is the first time it has taken a 21st century twist holding your computer hostage and demanding money to get it back.

This virus was developed by organized criminals overseas, and is spread through phony attachments in emails.  The best way to protect yourself is to avoid opening email attachments from unfamiliar senders or that you are not expecting to receive.

You should also invest in good anti-virus protection software, and if you are hit they suggest unplugging your computer immediately before the program as had a change to run completely.  The hope is that the virus stalled when you unplugged your equipment and an expert technician will be able to salvage your data.


Microsoft Phone Scam – This was making its rounds during the summer months, and even happened to one of our franchise owners.  Its goal is to catch people off guard, lull them into a false sense of trust by saying they are from Microsoft and there is an issue with your computer, and you give them remote access to your computer.
Once the representative, claiming to be from Microsoft, has access to your computer they install a virus.  Then charging you money to remove and repair your computer.

FBI Virus – This global Internet scam gets into your computer and preys on your fear of being contacted by the FBI and threatened with jail time.  A fake message with the FBI logo will appear on your screen claiming, virtually locking your computer, that you illegally downloaded some type of material.  Then like a ransom notice, the attacker forces a payment for access to the computer.

Computers become infected, most of the time undetected by the user, when a unfamiliar email attachment or an untrustworthy website is accessed.

Facebook Virus – The Facebook Virus is transmitted through Facebook by clicking a link, then find its way to your bank account and drain all of the available money.  This virus, commonly called Zeus, will remain inactive on your computer until someone log into a banking website.  It then swiftly moves into action, stealing username and passwords so the funds can be accessed by thieves.

The best line of defense is to only click on links from people you know that do not look suspicious or contain strange patterns or characters.  Also, because this virus targets bank accounts, making sure your banking establishment’s website is secure and has a 2-step verification process will help protect your money.

Search Conduit – Our final virus is not a traditional virus, it is actually a browser hijack.  It is a menace that exhibits malicious traits. It is most commonly bundled and installed  through something you downloaded, it will add the Conduit Toolbar and change your browser homepage and default search engine to search.conduit.com.

The Conduit search engine will display advertising and sponsored links in your search results and will act very much like Google and Bing.  It will also collect search terms from your queries in an effort to boost their advertising revenue, which is a black hat SEO tactic. It is pretty difficult to remove since it takes hold of some many pieces of your computer including your browser and operating system.