The world of computing is constantly evolving and facing new challenges. As PC users, we need to be aware of the potential threats that can compromise our data, privacy, and security. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the current and emerging risks that PC users face, and how to prepare for and prevent disasters that can result from them.
One of the most common and persistent threats to PC users is malware, which is any software designed to cause harm or exploit another piece of software or hardware.
Malware can damage files, steal sensitive data, and even take your device hostage. Malware can come in various forms, such as viruses, worms, trojans, ransomware, bots, adware, spyware, rootkits, and more. Some of the recent examples of malware attacks include:
The resurgence of MyDoom, a mass-mailing worm that first appeared in 2004 and has since spawned numerous variants. MyDoom can infect computers by sending itself as an email attachment or by copying itself to the shared folder of peer-to-peer file sharing applications. MyDoom can also open a backdoor on the infected computer, allowing remote access and control by hackers.
New WiFiPhishing, a rogue access point framework that can be used to conduct red team engagements or Wi-Fi security testing. WiFiPhishing can create a fake wireless network that looks similar to a legitimate one, and trick users into connecting to it. WiFiPhishing can then perform a man-in-the-middle attack, intercepting and modifying the traffic between the user and the internet.
WiFiPhishing can also launch web phishing attacks, displaying fake login pages or websites to capture credentials or infect the user with malware.
New Bagle variants, a series of computer worms that can spread through email attachments or peer-to-peer file sharing applications. Bagle can also create a backdoor on the infected computer, allowing remote access and control by hackers.
Bagle can also inform the hacker of the infection by sending an HTTP GET request. Bagle is known for exchanging insults and threats with another malware family, Netsky, in their codes.
Malware can pose serious problems to individuals and businesses on the internet, causing loss of data, money, and reputation. Malware can also compromise the security and privacy of the users, exposing them to identity theft, fraud, and blackmail.
Therefore, it is essential to protect your PC from malware by installing antivirus software, firewalls, and applying regular patches and updates. You should also avoid opening suspicious email attachments, clicking on unknown links, or downloading untrusted files or programs.
Another threat that PC users need to be prepared for is physical damage or loss of data due to natural or manmade disasters, such as power outages, fires, floods, earthquakes, theft, or sabotage.
These disasters can cause your PC to malfunction, crash, or become inaccessible, resulting in data loss or corruption. To prevent or minimize the impact of these disasters, you should have a disaster recovery plan that includes the following steps:
- Backup your data regularly and store it in a safe and secure location, such as an external hard drive, a cloud service, or a remote server. You should also test your backups periodically to ensure that they are working and can be restored.
- Have a surge protector or an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to protect your PC from power fluctuations or outages. A UPS can also provide backup power for a short time, allowing you to save your work and shut down your PC safely.
- Keep your PC in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated place, away from direct sunlight, heat sources, or water sources. You should also clean your PC regularly to remove dust, dirt, or debris that can clog the fans, vents, or ports, and cause overheating or short-circuiting.
- Secure your PC with a password, a lock, or an encryption software to prevent unauthorized access or theft. You should also keep a record of your PC’s serial number, model, and specifications, in case you need to report a theft or claim insurance.
- Have a recovery disk or a bootable USB drive that can help you restore your PC to its original state or troubleshoot any problems. You should also have a list of emergency contacts, such as your PC manufacturer, service provider, or IT support, that you can call for assistance.
Disaster recovery preparedness is not only about having the right tools and equipment, but also about having the right mindset and attitude. You should always be alert and vigilant, and educate yourself and your family on how to respond to different disaster scenarios. You should also review and update your disaster recovery plan regularly, and practice it with your family or colleagues. By being proactive and prepared, you can reduce the risk and impact of disasters on your PC and your peace of mind.
What is Phishing or Spoofing?
“Phishing” or “Spoofing” e-mails are made to look like they are sent from reputable companies but are actually sent by cyber-criminals.
These types of e-mails are sent to trick consumers into divulging sensitive information so that unlawful charges can be made on the consumers’ accounts.
Responding to “phishing” or “spoofing” e-mails will put your accounts and personal information at risk; they will link you to an imitation copy of a legitimate web page to trick you into providing sensitive personal information including passwords.
Identifying a Phish or Spoof E-mail
Phishing e-mails will usually urge you to “update” or “validate” your account information and will often threaten some dire consequence for not responding to them.
Be on the lookout for poor grammar or typographical errors. Many phishing e-mails are translated from other languages or are sent without being proofread, and as a result may contain bad grammar or typographical errors.
Most ISPs use a variety of means to ensure that the e-mail from their support services is authentic and can be trusted.
Find out from your ISP or e-mail service what methods they use to try to protect you, and provide trusted services. Also find out how your ISP or e-mail provider wants you to do with phishing, spam, or any other attempts to give them a bad name or that would give you personal grief.
What do I do if I get a Phishing E-mail?
Primarily, if you do not do business with the supposed services with the e-mail address you have gotten a phish, then delete or forward to a reporting location.
If you get an e-mail that asks for sensitive information, do not reply or click on the link in the message. When possible, you should avoid clicking links in the e-mail.
Instead of clicking the link, close your browser session entirely, then open a new browser session. Type the URL for the bank or other place of personal business into the address area of your Internet browser.
At no time should you cut and paste the link included in the message. There are new tricks designed to even change the URL for your favorites or bookmarks to a phisher’s address.
What Should I do if I Have Become a Victim of Fraud?
If you have responded to a scam message and given out your details, you should report it immediately to your services. If you have given out any bank or credit card information, you should contact those companies as well immediately.
To learn more about what to do if you have given out your personal financial information, the Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning about these identity theft scams.
They suggest the following:
If you get an e-mail that warns you, with little or no notice, that an account of yours will be shut down unless you reconfirm your billing information, do not reply or click on the link in the e-mail.
Instead, contact the company cited in the e-mail using a telephone number or Web site address you know to be genuine.
Avoid e-mailing personal and financial information; Always keep your password secure. Never share your password with anyone; Always review your credit card and bank account statements as soon as you receive them to determine whether there are any unauthorized charges.
If your credit card or bank statement is late by more than a couple of days, call your credit card company or bank to confirm your billing address and account balances.
Protecting Your Computer
Microsoft recommends that you keep your computer updated with the latest security patches for Windows.
Without the latest security patches, your computer may be vulnerable to any of the following: Identity theft; Worms and Trojans which can destroy data on your hard drive or send your personal information to third parties without your knowledge; tracking programs that silently monitor your online activity and report it without your knowledge; or unauthorized use of your computer to store illegal content or to send bulk mail illegally.
E-mail Virus Protection
Computer viruses are commonly transmitted among computers via e-mail. Many e-mail services either provide or offer automatic scans for viruses and spam blocking using stateof-the-art technology before you download them to your computer.
E-mail messages you send are also scanned to notify you of potential e-mail viruses on your computer and to protect other computers from becoming infected.
However, viruses continue to change and advance, to the point even the email services are unable to prevent some of the newest and more dangerous virus to get through.
To further protect yourself from harmful computer viruses, we recommend that you install anti-virus software on your computer and run a virus scan on a regular basis.