It’s coming people. Like a tornado, selecting its victims at random, destroying lives and homes. What is it, you ask? Viruses and Malware on your handheld devices.
As if we don’t have enough to worry about with viruses on our computers, now we have yet another concern. A recent attack on Android phones allowed hackers to remotely instruct the phone to send SMS text messages that cost $5 each, driving up the user’s phone bill and putting cash in the hackers pockets. The Android users had downloaded a “free” movie player, and the exploit was installed in the background.
The “movie app” was downloaded from an outside website not affiliated with Google’s Android Marketplace.
Another scam does not send out pricey text messages, but rather, instructs the phone to dial an international number using a specific carrier. The call is generally only made once a month, in the middle of the night, and most victims did not notice the charges for a few months.
So how can we protect ourselves from these malware attacks?
If you have ever installed a fully featured Antivirus program, or another security program, you may of been presented with an option to install a firewall, thereby disabling the standard firewall built into Windows.
What is a firewall, and should we keep the Windows firewall, or use the 3rd party software firewall?
A firewall is a hardware of software application that blocks unauthorized access to a computer or network. It also lets the right kind of access in or out, meaning you can still access the internet and applications you need.
For most small businesses and home users, a software firewall application is suitable. For larger networks, or high security, a robust hardware solution may be the answer.
There are arguments for using or not using the built in firewall in Windows.
- FOR – The windows firewall is automatically configured and turned on by default. You don’t have to do anything to start it up.
- AGAINST – Microsoft Windows is a huge target for hackers. They are always looking for ways to find ways into the system. It may be harder to attack a system with another software firewall running.
- FOR – If you have a hardware firewall application, or the firewall setup on your router, it does not hurt to keep the Windows Firewall running on your individual computers.
- AGAINST – A company that specifically makes security software is focused on the purpose of security. A 3rd party firewall application typically provides greater protection, though it does require more interaction and configuration.
Whatever your decision is, having a firewall running on your computer(s) is a good idea. There are thousands of viruses, worms, and other threats floating around in cyberspace.
Leave a Comment » | Tech Tip Tuesday Newsletter | Tagged: 3rd party software, access, antivirus, appliance, disable, firewall, internet, network, security, software, windows, windows firewall | Permalink
Posted by inquo
Every three thousand miles, you dutifully take your car into the shop for an oil change. Most people were taught to perform regular maintenance on their cars when they were first handed the keys to the old family sedan. By changing the oil, keeping the various fluids at the right level, and changing the filters, your automobile will run better and last a lot longer.
The same is true for your computer. The longer you use a computer the slower it may become. Many times, people think they need a new computer when all they really need to do is to perform some simple maintenance.
System and Software Updates
It is important to keep both your operating system and the software running on your computer up to date with the latest patches and upgrades. Many times, the security of your system can be at stake if the software running on it is not updated regularly. Both Microsoft and Apple operating systems regularly release updates. Other programs can usually be updated by clicking the HELP menu inside the program itself.
Clearing the Cache
A cache on a computer is a place where temporary files are stored. Many programs, including internet browsers, will store temporary files on the hard drive. This can help the program fun faster, and save personalized settings. If the cache becomes too large, or the files become corrupt it may cause problems. A good program to automatically clear the cache is CCleaner. Easy to use and free!
Viruses, malware and spyware cause many issues for computer users. They can slow the computer down, and cause issues with the security of your computer. It is important to keep your antivirus software up to date, and run regular scans with it. We also recommend using a program called Malwarebytes. Free and easy to use, Malwarebytes can remove many threats that may be missed by antivirus software.
Hard Drive Optimization
As you install programs and save files on your hard drive, it can begin to get cluttered. A defrag can help organize all of the files and programs that are physically stored on the hard drive. This can help with the speed of running programs, searching for and opening files, and many other functions of your computer.
All of these maintenance steps should be done on a monthly basis. By taking an hour a month to run the updates and security scans, your computer will run faster and last longer.
Leave a Comment » | Tech Tip Tuesday Newsletter | Tagged: apple, ccleaner, Defrag, inQuo computer repair in salt lake city, inquo computer repair in utah, inQuo computer support in salt lake city, inQuo computer support in utah, inquo laptop repair in salt lake city, inquo laptop repair in utah, Malware, malwarebytes, microsoft, pc tune-up, scan, security, Spyware, tune up, update, Virus | Permalink
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Everyone knows that you should use antivirus software to protect your computer, but did you know that your internet browser may be letting viruses and malware infect your system anyway?
Whether you use Internet Explorer, Firefox, or even Google Chrome, there will be vulnerabilities in your browser. It is important to keep your software up to date with the latest security patches and updates.
Simply updating your web browser is not enough. Any of the programs or “Add-Ons” you have installed inside your browser also need to be updated. Recently, some very popular Add-On applications like Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash have created vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer and Firefox.
Remember, updating the security of your computer is a never-ending process. By making sure the things you use the most are updated, you should be relatively safe.
Leave a Comment » | Tech Tip Tuesday Newsletter | Tagged: add-ons, extensions, google chrome, internet explorer, microsoft, mozilla firefox, patch, security, update, windows | Permalink
Posted by inquo
This is the first of a three part series on computer viruses. We will define what different types of viruses are, what they can do, how to remove them, and how you can prevent future infections.
Adware – A small software program, typically installed when visiting certain internet websites, or installing “shareware” or “freeware” software. Adware can monitor websites that you visit, and transmit that information to marketers for research and targeted advertising. It can increase the delivery of advertisements in the form of pop-up ads, targeted banners, etc.
Malware – Malicious software that is installed without your knowledge, that is used for sinister purposes, such as gathering information like passwords, installing viruses and trojans, turning a computer into a “Zombie”, and other unwanted actions.
Spyware – Again, software installed on your computer without you knowing. Spyware can be software installed by an owner of the computer to monitor the activities. For example, a parent that installs software to log the keystrokes of their kids, or a business owner monitoring their employee’s computer use. Spyware can monitor internet activity, and can also re-direct users to specific websites.
Trojan (Horse) – One of the more riskier malware programs, a trojan horse virus typically starts out as a small program that seemingly causes no harm, but can give others unauthorized access to your computer system. They are usually not self replicating, like viruses and worms, and they do require interaction with an outside party, like a hacker.
Virus – A virus is a program or set of scripts that can cause harm to your computer by deleting or corrupting files, disabling security software and other problematic things. A virus is typically a local program, and can be spread through manual processes, like sharing flash disks or USB drives, as well as email, IM programs, and social networking websites. The term virus is generally used as a blanketed description for other types of infections, like trojans, spyware and malware.
Worm – A self-replicating program that spreads through networks, e-mail, instant messaging programs and file sharing. Worms do not usually attach themselves to other programs. Many worms do not typically cause damage to files or programs, however, they can cause problems with bandwidth because of how they spread and replicate.
Zombie (Computer) – A computer that is connected to the internet, and has been compromised by a trojan, virus or worm. The computer is then used by someone controlling it, to send out spam e-mails, spread viruses, attack websites, etc. The owner of the computer does not know their computer is being used in that way. An estimated 80-90% of all spam e-mails sent worldwide comes from zombie infected computers.
Leave a Comment » | Tech Tip Tuesday Newsletter | Tagged: access, adware, anti-virus, business, compromised, corrupting files, delete, e-mail, Email, file sharing, flash drive, IM, internet, Malware, networks, programs, replicating, security, Spyware, system, trojan, unauthorized, usb drive, Virus, worm, zombie | Permalink
Posted by inquo
Leave a Comment » | Tech Tip Tuesday Newsletter | Tagged: add-ons, browser, browsing, cookies, history, internet, internet explorer, objects, optimize, plug-ins, privacy, security, web sites | Permalink
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