Securing your accounts with a password is a common practice that has been around as long as the Internet itself. Unfortunately, the “bad guys” are stepping up their game in an attempt to access them for nefarious purposes. The latest Sans Ouch! Newsletter goes into detail about choosing more secure passwords, and a growing security “addition” called two-factor authentication (2FA). I highly recommend reading this to better secure your online presence.
It’s hard to believe, but the holiday season will soon be here. Maybe it’s because of my surgery back in July, but it feels like this year has just flown by. With the holiday season comes the desire to buy our loved ones that special gift(s). Many of us now do some or all of our shopping online. The latest Sans Ouch! Newsletter has some great tips on how to ensure your financial security online. Click here for all the details.
If you are a Skype user, make sure you never respond to unsolicited popup ads/warnings. There is a current scam going round that has caused many folks to be susceptible to a malware attack. A fake popup screen pops up claiming that you need to perform a “critical upgrade” for Adobe flash. When you do it seems like you are updating Flash, but you are actually installing ransomware on your computer! All legitimate updates will come from within the software or operating system. Remember…no legitimate company will ever contact you unsolicited.
We are highly recommending that all our clients go to the following website to verify whether or not they have been impacted by the Equifax breach that made national news last week. If you have been affected, Equifax will provide you with a year of free credit monitoring. Be sure and read the fine print of the agreement. We have been told accepting the agreement prevents you from joining any future class action lawsuits. Make the right choice for yourself. Click here to see if you have been affected.
If you have, there are three options available to you:
1- Equifax will give you the one year of credit monitoring, but there may be strings.
2- You can call all three credit bureaus and do a credit watch. It’s free, and requires companies to verify the request for credit is legitimate. The downside is crooks would just bypass this.
3- You can call all three credit bureaus and do a credit freeze. It’s $10 per bureau, but your credit is locked down. The downside it will be $30 a pop if you ever need new credit.
A popular windows operating system cleaner, CCleaner, has had the 32 bit version compromised by hackers. Luckily the majority of folks now have 64 bit operating systems. If you aren’t sure if you are affected, you can just download the latest version, and run your anti-virus and/or Malwarebytes scan(s) to verify your system is clean. More details about this can be found here.
One of the biggest complaints I hear from clients is the necessity for long and complicated passwords required by websites to protect their accounts and personal information. Once you need passwords for more than two or three websites, people have a hard time keeping them straight in their heads without committing them to paper, or saving them as a file somewhere on your computer. Another issue is that password that you only use in case of an emergency, for example an email password in Outlook or Thunderbird. A solution to this issue is to use a password manager. This Sans Ouch! newsletter gives you great information on the basics or password manager programs. It pays to do your research and choose the program that works best for you. I personally use and recommend LastPass. It has both free and paid versions, and is easy to learn. If you need any help in setting up a password manager, please give us a call.
Facebook scams are at an all time high. I know I usually get at least one friend request from someone pretending to be one of my established Facebook friends every week. This excellent article from Scambusters gives you plenty of information on how not to become a victim, and how to lessen the chance someone would ever want to spoof your Facebook account by hiding your friends list from everyone but yourself. I highly recommend you implement that recommendation immediately.
The latest Ouch! newsletter has great information regarding the recent WannaCry ransomware attack, and how to make sure you are as prepared as possible to not be a victim of this, or any of the next generation variants that will eventually show up. Unfortunately, the “bad guys” are making too much money to stop.
You have been hearing about the scary cyberattack causing all types of problems on a global scale in the news. The good news is if you are using a currently supported operating system (Windows 7 or higher) you are protected. If you use Malwarebytes Premium you would have been protected regardless of whether or not your operating system was still supported. Companies and individuals running unsupported or unpatched operating systems are the real targets of these crooks. Microsoft in an unprecedented move, even released a patch for XP and Vista operating systems to stem the ransomware’s impact. I’m afraid it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Remember: keep your operating system updated. If you are not already using Malwarebytes Premium, now may be the time to start. This is just the beginning of the new norm. Please contact us if you have any questions about your security status/risk.
The latest Ouch! newsletter has great information regarding how to help children be safe and secure online. Good communication and education are the keys to achieving this goal.