September 25th, 2013
Yahoo recently announced that they were recycling dormant email addresses. Yahoo IDs that hadn’t been used in awhile were made available again and taken over by other users who wanted them. Donna Tam, of CNet, reports that there’s a significant security problem with that.
Even though users hadn’t accessed their Yahoo emails in over a year, they still have accounts associated with them all over the internet. One user who took over a previously owned Yahoo ID says the email address is associated with a Pandora and Facebook account and is the contact for a doctor’s office.
Multiple users have seen emails intended for the address’s previous owner. Those emails contain the ability to hack into the previous owner’s online accounts and some contain personal information like the last 4 digits of a social security number and physical address. With that information, a motivated person could hack into any number of accounts. The potential for identity theft is incredibly high.
Yahoo says most of the recycled accounts were not receiving any emails before being claimed by a new user. They also claim that they’ve taken precautions so the new account holders don’t receive emails containing information about the accounts of another person. But, Yahoo has to rely on other websites to make changes in order to fully fix the problem.
If you let your Yahoo email address lapse, you’ll definitely want to go through all of your online accounts and make sure none of them are associated with an address that may now be used by someone else. Don’t forget to also check with doctors’ offices and friends to let them know that you no longer use that email.
To avoid any of these potential headaches, contact Geek Rescue about hosted email. We offer a variety of options to fit your needs. Call us at 918-369-4335.
September 25th, 2013
It’s easy to understand why so many hackers are targeting social media for cyber attacks. Where else would you find such a high collection of unsuspecting people? Many users have grown wise to email attacks and have learned to avoid suspicious emails. Social media, however, is still seen by most as a safe place. Throw in that many users access social media on mobile phones, which often lack necessary security, and you have an irresistible target for hackers.
John P. Mello, of CIO, reports that these attacks claim victims using the trust of users against them. Similar tactics as previously seen in creating fake versions of legitimate websites, or sending phishing emails that appear to be from legitimate sources, have been adapted for social media. The trend is to take over an account with a large number of followers and credibility and use it to spread malicious links.
These attacks are difficult to avoid because they appear to be coming from a trusted source. You wouldn’t expect a Twitter account that you’ve followed for years to suddenly be directing you to a phishing site, or infecting you with malware.
This isn’t only a concern for individuals either. Businesses need to be aware of these threats to security also. Another reason that social media is so attractive to hackers is that so many users access social media on their company’s network. This means that if any of your employees encounter a hacked profile, they are putting your company’s data at risk.
There are a number of options for how to deal with these threats. Blocking social media sites is one. Educating employees about the risk and making sure they understand how to avoid these attacks is another.
To improve your company’s security, contact Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335. We offer security software that is capable of blocking potentially dangerous sites and catching malware before it infects your system.
September 17th, 2013
If you’ve used Twitter, you’ve likely encountered Twitter spam. There are unfortunately a large number of profiles whose sole purpose is to send out messages with URLs that are phishing sites or infect your machines with malware. Twitter has taken steps to rid their users of this spam nuisance, but spammers now have new tactics that are more difficult to deal with.
Kit Eaton, of Fast Company, reports that the latest spam technique involves Twitter’s lists. Twitter overcame their initial spam issue by adding a “Report Spam” button for users to use when they encountered an obviously malicious tweet or profile. Overcoming list spam is more complicated.
When your Twitter profile is added to a list by another user, you receive a notification. Lately, users have been seeing list add notifications from spammers masquerading as reputable companies. Accounts trading on the names of Paypal or Facebook appear to have added your Twitter handle to a new list. The idea behind this scheme is that users will have questions about this action and want to know more.
Naturally, you’ll click on the name of the account that’s just added you and you’ll arrive at a barren Twitter profile. No profile picture, only a few tweets sent and almost no followers. Their bio will contain a URL, however. Don’t click it. The urge might be to follow the link and find out what this strange Twitter profile is all about, but the URL points to a malicious website. This could be a phishing scam or a website designed to infect your device with malware.
Twitter has yet to announce a plan to deal with this latest spam threat. You can avoid any problems, however, by being suspicious. Understand what a spam Twitter profile looks like and don’t click any links in their bio or tweets.
If you find that you computer or mobile device has been infected with malware, bring it to Geek Rescue. We rid any device of viruses and malware. Come by or call us at 918-369-4335.
July 24th, 2013
We’ve all been conditioned to be afraid of viruses on our computer and for good reason. Viruses slow down performance, cause crashes and cost you money. Drew Pindle recently addressed this topic for Digital Trends and revealed why it’s a good idea to learn some tell-tale signs that you may have a virus hiding on your computer, how to get rid of it and how to avoid getting it in the first place.
One of the most obvious signs that you’ve got a virus is pop-ups. To be fair, even with a well-configured, up-to-date web browser, you could still see a couple pop-ups now and then. This doesn’t necessarily suggest you’ve got a virus. However, if you’re seeing pop-ups when you aren’t even using your browser, a virus is the likeliest reason. There are a number of malware removal tools available to help you in this case. For a thorough cleaning, call Geek Rescue and they’ll remove the malware from your computer to stop the annoying pop-ups.
Another sign of a virus is learning that your email or social media account sent out messages without your knowledge. Many of us have been the unfortunate victim of a hijacked, or hacked, email account. There are few things that make you feel as frustrated and helpless as learning your email spammed your entire address book. Viruses often do this as a way to spread to other computers. If you notice your email or social media account has been hijacked, change your passwords and scan for viruses. Consult the experts at Geek Rescue to help keep your email safe and eradicate harmful viruses.
This is one of the scariest virus signs. Ransomware does exactly what the name suggests. It holds your computer hostage and asks for payment. Usually, a message takes over your screen, which can even include an official looking government seal, informing you that your computer has been locked down until you pay some sort of “fine”. If this happens to you, don’t reveal any payment information because this is a scam. Unfortunately, it’s incredibly difficult to recover from this type of takeover. You’ll need a rescue disk, or the professionals at Geek Rescue. They have experience with ransomware and get you back on track quickly.
If you find your computer has grown sluggish and suddenly freezes or crashes often, that’s another sign of a likely virus. Your computer could deteriorate over time on its own, but if it goes from being fine one day to almost unusable the next, a virus is probably the culprit. Most likely, this virus can be spotted by opening task manager and looking for any suspicious programs that are running.
You may find that task manager, or other essential programs, won’t open on your computer. That’s probably because a virus is blocking them. They could even be blocking your antivirus software, which makes it a difficult fix. Bring your computer to Geek Rescue to get your computer cleaned and protected against future infections.
If you’ve made it this far into the article without any of these symptoms sounding familiar, you may be thinking your computer is completely clean. You may be right, but it’s just as likely that you have a particularly well-crafted virus hiding from you. The most effective and dangerous viruses don’t announce their presence. Instead, they infect your computer without noticeably affecting anything. In fact, some viruses have even been programmed to delete other malware to keep antivirus software from detecting an infection. To make sure your computer is infection-free and you’re safe, bring your computer to Geek Rescue to get your computer cleaned and protected against future viruses. Come by or call us at 918-369-4335.
July 15th, 2013
To protect yourself from viruses, malware and phishing attacks, you need a currently updated antivirus program installed on the device you’re using to browse the web. By now, this is a well-known truth. Relying on the presence of antivirus software alone, however, is no longer enough to keep you and your computer safe.
Kaspersky Lab reports that there is a new, unique form of malware detected more than once every second. That equates to about 200-thousand new forms of malware being created each day. Even regular updates to your antivirus software can’t keep up. Antivirus is still necessary to catch the majority of infection attempts you’ll run into during a normal web browsing excursion, but you need extra security to protect you from the rest.
For businesses or homes, users are often their own worst enemy when it comes to fighting viruses and malware. In his article for Computer Weekly, Warwick Ashford explains that “securing computers remains easier than securing users.” That’s because infection attempts use manipulative language to get users to open emails or click objects their computer knows they shouldn’t. Social media, when not protected properly, also gives cyber criminals more than enough information to goad you into a phishing attack or infect you with malware. In many ways, the best way to protect yourself online is to trust your spam filter and security software and practice safe, disciplined surfing.
Using a cloud infrastructure with real-time updates is one way to further protect your computer. Geek Rescue knows how to keep you protected, even against the increasingly intelligent and effective threats out there. Contact Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335 now, before your computer is infected, to explore your options and stay safe from attack.