Monday, December 8, 2014

ONLINE SECURITY- Phishing and Ransomware

Here are two alerts about dangers to your computer:

Phishing- Emails have been going out posing as “Order Confirmations” that can download software that will take your email information, passwords, and then make your computer into a botnet slave.

Since Thanksgiving, emails have been going out asking you to confirm a supposed order that the email claims you have made. In order to confirm your order, the email asks you to click on a link. Do not click that link! The email may have an embedded link or it may have an infected attached file.

The emails may claim to be from major retailers such as Home Depot, Walmart, Target, or Costco.

If you click on the link, a piece of software called the Asprox spam botnet will copy email credentials and passwords. Then, your computer will send junk email and spam to the email addresses in your address book.

Order confirmation scams come hot and heavy during the holiday shopping season in an attempt to catch computer users off guard. With the pressure to have gifts arrive before Christmas, during the shopping season, scammers hope you will not pay attention and click on that link. If you receive one of these emails slow down and look closely at the email.

Look for an order number, or other information that can be used to look up an order. If you think the email is legitimate, don’t click on the link. Open the company’s web site in your browser and look up your order information.

Also, any emails that you receive that are spam, add them to your junk mail folder in your email application such as Outlook.

This spam has been seen nationwide, although I have not seen any reports of it showing up locally as yet. If you receive this email please let me know.

Krebs on Security:


Ransomware- A virus that has been seen locally is the Crpytolocker Virus that is a form of “ransomware.” The virus encrypts all of your files on your hard drive so that you cannot access them. The solution is to contact the perpetrator of the virus and pay him to decrypt your files. This can cost as much as $1,000 with no guarantee that you will get access to your files back.

Apparently, this virus spreads across networks and externally attached devices. To protect yourself:

  • Be sure that your Antivirus and Anti-Malware software is updated regularly and running.
  • Make regular backups of your files.
  • Be sure that if you use external devices that they can be unplugged.
  • Back up your files to a cloud server.
  • Don’t open email attachments or links from sources that you do not know.

 Thanks to Computer Concepts in Bothell for the tip-



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