The scariest threat out there for your computer

There is a serious threat out there to all of your data, and it’s growing bigger every day…

More and more hackers have come to realize they can make a lot of money every day, simply by denying you access to your computer and the data you have stored in it.

This scenario is unfolding right now somewhere in the world. Probably somewhere very close to you right now – maybe even someone you know.

This very moment, someone is clicking a link in a spam email that is unleashing a world of havoc and chaos within their computer.

In a few seconds, all their data will be encrypted and they will have just a few days to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to get it back. Even with a backup – which most people don’t have – it will take hours to restore their computer back to how it was before this vicious attack.

There is a growing threat in the cyber world. Groups of remorseless hackers and cyber criminals are programming malicious software known as ransomware.  They’ve automated their attacks to the point of targeting anyone and everyone. But why do they do this?

An attacker’s estimated return on investment for exploit kit and ransomware schemes is 1,425%!!

There are two known types of ransomware in circulation:

  1. Encrypting ransomware: This type of ransomware incorporates advanced encryption algorithms. It’s designed to block access to media files and demand payment to provide the victim with the decryption key that will unlock access to the blocked content. Examples include Locky, CryptoLocker, CrytpoWall and more.
  2. Locker ransomware, which locks the victim out of the operating system, making it impossible to access the desktop and any apps, programs or files. The files are not encrypted in this case, but the attackers still ask for a ransom to unlock the infected computer. Examples include the police-themed ransomware (FBI, ICE, NSA, etc) or Winlocker.

The most widespread type of ransomware is crypto-ransomware or encrypting ransomware. The cyber security community agrees that this is the most prominent and worrisome cyber threat of the moment.

So what can be done to prevent this threat?

The first and most obvious thing is to make sure never to open an email with an unverified sender. Many emails disguise themselves as a company like FedEx or UPS. The emails look very official, but prompt you to check the attached file for information about the failed delivery of your package. Once you download this file, automated cyber-chaos is unleashed on your computer taking away all access to your most precious information. Also make sure you don’t download or open any attachments or click any links in emails from unverified senders.

The next thing you can do is to use an ad-blocker plugin for your browser. I personally use AdBlock for Google Chrome. I tend not to use any other browser because Chrome settings will cross over from one computer to another, keeping my life a little more simple. As I’m writing this, my AdBlock plugin has blocked over 75,000 ads and is being used by over 10,000,000 people. The numbers speak for themselves in reliability.

 

 

Make sure you have the most up to date version of your security software and make sure that it is set to check for updates every day. If an update requires you to reboot your computer, don’t put this off. Do this right away! All this is going to cost you is a few minutes of your time to make sure you don’t lose hours later on.

A paid version of security software is always better than the free version. I use AVG protection for all of my devices. AVG has security software for PC, Mac, and Android. The software for Mac and Android are free. The PC software has a paid version – AVG Internet Security. I highly recommend this software to protect your PC.

 

Make sure you have an active backup of all of your data. Cloud solutions for data backup are very affordable now and can save you thousands of dollars in a data recovery effort.  Carbonite is a leading provider of cloud backup and restore solutions for small and midsize businesses. They protect millions of devices and their valuable data for businesses and individuals around the world. Check out our page with Carbonite and see what plan is best for you

 

*Click on the logo to go to our Carbonite web page*

 

My computer got infected with ransomware… now what?

First of all, don’t pay the ransom. That may temporarily make your data available, but will NOT remove the malicious software from your computer, leaving you at risk to be exploited again.

We’ve recovered a great many computers infected with ransomware of all varieties with 100% success to date and zero data loss for our customers. Go to our contact page, and give us a buzz. We’ll be happy to get you back on track as fast as possible.

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The Computer Solution llc
Computer Repair Durango CO - PC Repair Durango CO - Mac Repair Durango CO - Tech Support - Virus Removal - Ransomware removal - Windows 7 - Windows 8 - Windows 10 - Mac OS X

I removed Malware and now all my personal files are gone!

The latest versions of Malware I have been witnessing is rather clever and tries to trick the user into believing that all of their files are deleted.  First off make sure you have removed all the infections by running your virus protection and following the Computer Solutions LLC’s malware removal instructions (see here).

Once you have removed the infections and your files are still missing, follow the instructions below:

1. Open “My Computer”

2. Select “C:/ Drive” (or main hard drive is different letter)

3a. For XP, go to C:\Document and Settings

3b. For Vista/Windows 7 go to C:\Users

4. Now you are looking at what should be where all your personal data is stored.

5. You might not see anything in here as the Malware infection has hidden all folders

6. TO UN-HIDE FOLDERS: Go up to “Tools”, then down to “Folder Options”.  (If you don’t see the Tools menu bar, press “alt” and it will show the menu bar. (SEE BELOW)

7. Scroll down to “Hidden files and folders”, and select “Show hidden files and folders” (SEE BELOW)

 

8. Press “OK”, now you should see your user folder (named your user name)

9. Right mouse click on your folder, select “Properties”.  Now un-check the box that says “Hidden”.

10. Press “OK” and select “Apply to all sub-folders and files”, let the process finish and you should have all of your documents back.

11. You might want to perform the same option described in steps 9 & 10 to default user, or all users to bring back all of your start menu items.

12. When you have all of your files un-hidden, you will want to repeat steps 6 & 7 in reverse order to re-hide hidden folders.

13. Done, you should be malware free and have all of your personal files back.

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The Computer Solution llc
Computer Repair Durango CO - PC Repair Durango CO - Mac Repair Durango CO - Tech Support - Virus Removal - Ransomware removal - Windows 7 - Windows 8 - Windows 10 - Mac OS X

Intel Completes Acquisition of McAfee

SANTA CLARA, Calif., February 28, 2011 – Intel Corporation today announced the acquisition of McAfee, Inc. is complete.

As the Internet expansion pushes it way into our cellphones, cars, and living room, the rise of more and more malware infections is imminent.  The question of how to protect our information has been an ongoing battle within the tech world.  With the acquisition, Intel plans to move into the security industry and possible take a new look at the preventative measure in IT security.

Intel and McAfee believe today’s approach to security does not adequately address the billions of new Internet-ready devices, including PCs, mobile and wireless devices, TVs, cars, medical devices and ATM machines. With the surge in cyber threats, providing protection to a diverse online world requires a fundamentally new approach involving software, hardware and services. Together the two companies will work to help people more securely take full advantage of the potential of computing and connectivity (Ramirez, 2011).

References:

Ramirez, S. (2011, February 28). Intel completes acquisition of mcafee. Retrieved from http://newsroom.intel.com/community/intel_newsroom/blog/2011/02/28/intel-completes-acquisition-of-mcafee

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The Computer Solution llc
Computer Repair Durango CO - PC Repair Durango CO - Mac Repair Durango CO - Tech Support - Virus Removal - Ransomware removal - Windows 7 - Windows 8 - Windows 10 - Mac OS X

Un-secure Wifi’s Threats

Imagine you’re sitting in a coffee shop surfing your Facebook page, or Twitter account and all of the sudden the stranger sitting at the next table is updating your status and sending messages to your friends from your account.

It could happen and anyone can do it.

Firesheep is a free Firefox browser plugin which allows attackers to monitor un-secure wireless hot-spots for people logging in to websites that do not require secure connections (ex: Facebook, Twitter, Many Consumer Websites). Once a person logs in to their account, the attacker is able to steal their browser cookie (a process called “session hijacking”) and access the victim’s account with just a few mouse clicks, virtually undetected. Firesheep is almost idiot-proof, and gives even the most inexperienced computer user a access to your accounts.

For testing purposes I download Firesheep and within minutes I had access (I didn’t log on, just testing) to random users personal accounts from the coffee shop beneath my home.

This is an area of security which some of the most popular sites in the world (facebook, twitter) need to update to use HTTPS technology and not be storing credentials in Cookies, which as you can see can be easily intercepted.

Be careful what you do on an un-secure Wifi connection and we will see which major site will implement changes in response to Firesheep and the publicity it is receiving.

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The Computer Solution llc
Computer Repair Durango CO - PC Repair Durango CO - Mac Repair Durango CO - Tech Support - Virus Removal - Ransomware removal - Windows 7 - Windows 8 - Windows 10 - Mac OS X