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October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

This month is National Cyber Security Awareness Month.   I will try to post something weekly in regards to the campaign. This week’s theme is STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

Here is a helpful video telling you some basics steps to stay secure online! Stay Safe Online!

For more information please visit:  http://staysafeonline.org/ncsam

 

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Signs You Might be Infected with Malware

Malware is everywhere these days!  Just today I read an article that a Facebook post claiming that Fox News was reporting Brad Pitt dead was infecting computers when users clicked on it. For the record, Brad Pitt is alive and still getting divorced!   You have to be vigilant at all times!!!!!!   Here are some telltale signs that your computer may be infected with Malware.

  1.  You open your internet browser and your homepage has changed to something else.  (Now this can also happen if you install new software and don’t pay close attention to it changing your default browser settings)  So, this one isn’t set in stone!
  2. Your computer is so slow you want to throw it off a building.  Check your hard drive light if it looks like it’s continually blinking or just on steadily, not a great sign! hard-drive-light-1
  3.  Annoying pop-ups!  Usually, they say something like this.  (if you get this, just turn the computer off immediately from the power button!)   If something is getting installed it “usually” stops it.systembrowsing-com-popup
  4. Your computer is constantly crashing.  You know the dreaded Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) or in Windows 10, it’s a bit less scary looking but never a sight you want to see.blue-screen-of-death-windows-10
  5. You can’t run some programs.  You suspect something is wrong, but you can’t use your anti-virus or anti-malware program.
  6. You get warning messages stating your files are locked until you pay a ransom.  RANSOMWARE!!!!  This is a common ransomware screen.FBI-Ransomware.jpeg
  7. Programs you know you didn’t install are now showing up on your desktop.
  8. Suddenly you are running out of disk space!
  9. Your friends start emailing you that you are sending them spam!
  10. Your friends start yelling at you for posting weird stuff to social media sites.
  11. You start receiving a lot of bounced emails, b/c your too busy spamming your friends and everyone else in your address book!
  12. The worst one of all, ABSOLUTELY nothing!   Some are so stealth you don’t notice a thing!    It’s always important to have your anti-virus programs up to date and using a program like Malwarebytes is always recommended.  Malwarebytes has a free version for home users.  Why not try it!   www.malwarebytes.org

What is Sway?

 

Sway is a program included in Office 365, just login into your Office 365 account! Sway is a new presentation program brought to us by Microsoft.

You can create a website in a presentation format using images, text, and other media. It’s very user-friendly! Much easier to use than most people would find PowerPoint is to use

You can embed these into a website and upload them to YouTube as well.

A great beginners tutorial has already been created by Teacher’s Tech.

How to Help Prevent Ransomware Attacks

What is Ransomware?  According to Wikipedia it is the following:

Ransomware is a type of malware that restricts access to the infected computer system in some way, and demands that the user pay a ransom to the malware operators to remove the restriction. Some forms of ransomware systematically encrypt files on the system’s hard drive, which become difficult or impossible to decrypt without paying the ransom.

I’ve dealt with CryptoWall and it worked fast and rendered the computer useless after a few hours.

It’s shocking how easy it is to do.  Cylance a newer Anti-Virus(AV) with Artificial Intelligence instead of Anti-Virus Definitions listed this picture on their website.

Encryptor_RaaS_7

This is from a website on the Dark Web.  No I’ve never visited there!   Essentially it’s a form to fill out that will create the Ransomware code for you.  NO CODING INVOLVED on their end!!!!!   Frightening!!!

So now that I have officially scared you, how do you prevent it?

  • ALWAYS keep your whatever Anti-Virus you use up to date!   Don’t have money for Anti-Virus software?    There are a quite a few excellent free Anti-Virus programs.  Avast, AVG, Panda, Sophos, ZoneAlarm and Bitdefender to name a few!
  • Run a software firewall like Windows Firewall, ZoneAlarm AV has a firewall built into it,  or Sophos XG Firewall Home Edition.  Still don’t feel secure, buy a physical firewall.  Like the Netgear ProSafe or the Cisco RV110W-A-NA-K9 (who came up with that name??)
  • Make sure your Operating System has all the latest updates!
  • Use a Malware solution like Malwarebytes. Bitdefender has a solution that you pay for your Anti-Virus, Firewall and Malware Protection all in one product, it’s called Total Security 2016.
  • Disable Macros on all Office files.
  • Never open an email attachment from someone you don’t know.
  • Carefully open email attachments from someone you do know.
  • Don’t click on links that you know look sketchy on unfamiliar websites
  • Download this very helpful Ransomware Prevention Kit from Third Tier.  They ask for a small donation to fund and pay for certifications for women in IT.  We NEED more women in IT!!!!
  • Backup your important files on an external hard drive and then only connect it when you need to back up again!
  • Backup frequently

If you should get infected with Ransomware, paying the ransom doesn’t necessarily mean that the criminals doing this will give you your files back.

There is a “Vaccine” available for some flavors of Ransomware provided by BitDefender.

 

 

 

 

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